Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Gulf's Dolphin Die-Off


This article talks about the increasingly large number of bottlenosed dolphins that have been washing up on the shores of the south-eastern USA as of late. These dolphins show signs of premature death caused by anemia, poor immune systems, liver, and lung diseases. After researchers examined the situation this winter, it was confirmed that a large amount of these deaths was caused by the BP oil spill, which happened back in 2010.

The reason that we are still seeing the affects of this oil spill on the dolphins is because the dolphins that were directly affected by BP's oil have now mated and given birth to calves - this is to say that this is the second generation of dolphins affected, and we are still seeing obvious effects. Along with the illnesses mentioned earlier, the rate of stillbirths has increased dramatically as well.

So what is the solution to this issue? Almost all clean up efforts have been done at this point, being that the spill was nearly two years ago from today. Since most of the affected Dolphins are living in coastal regions, along the coasts of Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, they are living in fairly isolated communities, and it is assumed that there is alot of interbreeding. So these communities need to mate into other communities of dolphins to increase their genetic diversity. If this happens, we should hopefully see fewer and fewer dolphins affected by the oil spill, and hopefully in the near future, have all affects gone. I would reccomend this article to anyone interested in studying the affects of oil spills on our marine mammals, parituclarily dolphins. It will not be the most recent news since the article is written about something that happened in 2010, but I still found it very interesting.

The Gulf's Dolphin Die-Off, Leigh Coleman eta., 2012.

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