Cold water influx in Gulf may have delivered fatal blow to dolphins

A combination of factors probably led to this year’s rash of dolphin deaths, although plumes of cold water that entered Mobile Bay in January and February may have delivered the killing blow, according to one of the Gulf’s foremost dolphin scientists.

Graham Worthy, a University of Central Florida researcher who ran the state of Texas’ dolphin research program for a decade, said it may be impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of death for the 90 animals that have been recovered this year.
But, Worthy said, basic tests looking at the fat composition of the animals’ blubber layer and the condition of their skin, would reveal much about the overall fitness of the creatures before they died.

“I suspect what we are seeing is several things coming together to form a perfect storm,” Worthy said. “The cold was a very unusual circumstance, but I think we may also be seeing an indirect effect stemming from the BP oil spill, from the way it may have disrupted the food chain.”

Read the rest of the article, from Ben Raines of the Press-Registerhere.

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