Blubber hormone concentrations of NARWs and biological validation

To characterize reproductive and glucocorticoid hormone concentrations in NARW blubber, testosterone, progesterone and cortisol were measured using the validated Arbor Assays immunoassay systems (see Analytical validations). Based on validation results, blubber samples from all whales (n = 28) were extracted using the simplified extraction protocol and resulting sample extracts were diluted 1:3 in assay buffer (#X065, Arbor Assays) prior to assay. Hormone data were compared across whales of different sexes, age classes, reproductive states and health statuses to evaluate whether blubber sample measurements reflect endocrine profiles expected for whales of known life history states.

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