In conjunction with reproductive and feeding ecology studies on southern giant petrels (SGP, Macronectes giganteus) blood samples were collected for baseline health evaluations. Twenty-five adult SGP from a breeding colony in Chubut, Argentina, were sampled during two consecutive breeding seasons, 1999–2000 (n=15) and 2000–01 (n=10). Values for hematology, plasma biochemistry, and minerals are described for 20 birds in apparent good physical condition. A serologic survey of exposure to selected infectious agents was also conducted on all 25 birds sampled. Southern giant petrels were serologically negative for evidence of exposure to infectious laryngotracheitis virus, avian encephalomyelitis virus, avian influenza virus, avian reovirus, infectious bursal disease virus, infectious bronchitis virus, paramyxovirus 1, 2, and 3 virus, Chlamydophila, and Aspergillus. Antibodies to avian adenovirus were found in 14% of SGP during the first sampling season, and 60% in the second year. Additionally, all birds were negative for antibodies to Salmonella pullorum at the first sampling date, but 90% had low titers the following breeding season. This study contributes to understanding the health status of South Atlantic seabirds and to establishment of baseline information for SGP. Long-term monitoring of pelagic predator-scavenger seabirds such as SGP should be established for the surveillance of marine ecosystem health.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2