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Environment: Dolphins hit by Deepwater Horizon spill are suffering from lung disease and hormone deficiencies

‘”I’ve never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals …”

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Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster is making dolphins very ill.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Dolphins exposed to heavy doses of oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster are experiencing lung disease at five times the rate of dolphin populations in other areas, federal researchers reported in a new study published this week. The scientists also found that 25 percent of the Barataria Bay dolphins were significantly underweight and the population overall had very low levels of adrenal hormones, which are critical for responding to stress.

“I’ve never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals — and with unusual conditions such as the adrenal hormone abnormalities,” said lead author Dr. Lori Schacke, who announced similar findings in March 2012. Continue reading

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Grim outlook for dolphins exposed to BP oil in Gulf

Critical hormones affected in almost half the marine mammals studied

A bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —The scope of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster was so unprecedented that biologists weren’t sure what they would find when they started investigating dolphin health in Barataria Bay, off the coast of Louisiana.

What they did find was disturbing. Many dolphins are underweight and anemic, have low blood sugar and suffers symptoms of liver and lung disease, NOAA researchers said last week. Nearly half of the 32 dolphins studied also have abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.

“This was truly an unprecedented event – there was little existing data that would indicate what effects might be seen specifically in dolphins (or other cetaceans) exposed to oil for a prolonged period of time,” Dr. Lori Schwacke said via email. “However, there have been experimental studies of health effects in another mammal (mink) exposed to oil over several months, and the health issues that we see in these dolphins are consistent with the adverse effects seen in the mink studies,” she said. Continue reading

Report: Some Louisiana dolphins hit hard by oil spill

Research team documents severe ill-effects in Barataria Bay

A bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN

Barataria Bay (GOOGLE MAPS).

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Many dolphins in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay — one of the areas hit hardest by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe — are underweight and anemic, have low blood sugar and suffers symptoms of liver and lung disease, NOAA researchers said this week.

Nearly half of the 32 dolphins studied also have abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function, biologists said, releasing  preliminary results of a natural resource damage assessment to help responders deal with a steady stream of dolphin strandings along the tainted coastline. A NOAA dolphin FAQ is online here.

Barataria Bay, located in the northern Gulf of Mexico, received heavy and prolonged exposure to oil during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A NOAA dolphin assessment work slideshow is online here. Continue reading

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