‘”I’ve never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals …”
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.
Critical hormones affected in almost half the marine mammals studied
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 “Grim outlook for dolphins exposed to BP oil in Gulf”→
Research team documents severe ill-effects in Barataria Bay
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.