Posted on May 26, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Dolphins off the coast of Florida have been exposed to more mercury than captive dolphins fed a controlled diet. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Results suggest that Florida coastal waters have high levels of the toxic metal
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new study by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium shows that wild dolphins have higher levels of mercury than their captive cousins, suggesting that mercury pollution in the oceans is a continuing problem.
The captive animals were fed a controlled diet, while the wild mammals dined on marine life that may carry more of the toxic metal.
The study found lower levels of mercury in the captive animals, particularly compared to wild dolphins tested off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, a state that is in the path of mercury-laden fumes from power plants. The aquarium dolphins are fed smaller fish from North Atlantic waters, where mercury pollution is less prevalent. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, water | Tagged: dolphins, Environment, Mercury, oceans, pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
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. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: Barataria Bay, Deepwater horizon oil spill, dolphins, Gulf of Mexico, marine mammals, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Leave a Comment »