Unusual string of bottlenose dolphin deaths linked to BP oil spill

Unusual string of bottlenose dolphin deaths linked to BP oil spill

An “unusual mortality event” among marine mammals — primarily bottlenose dolphins — in the northern Gulf of Mexico has been linked to BP’s historic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In research published Wednesday in the journal PloS One, a team of marine scientists from across the country documented a large cluster of dolphin strandings and deaths in the Gulf of Mexico between 2010 and June 2013. Of those strandings and deaths, they said, most occurred in areas impacted by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“[T]he location, timing, and magnitude of dolphin stranding trends observed following the [BP] oil spill, particularly statewide for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, overlap with the location and magnitude of oil during and the year following [the] spill,” the research reads. “In comparison, the [Gulf of Mexico] coasts of Florida and Texas experienced little to no oiling, and … these areas lacked significant annual, statewide increases in stranded dolphins.”

The peer-reviewed research is just the latest linking the Deepwater Horizon spill to extreme health problems in dolphins, particularly in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay. In a previous study published in 2013, scientists have said that the 4.2 million barrels of oil sloshed into the Gulf of Mexico may be linked to deteriorating dolphin health including missing teeth, lung disease, and hormonal imbalances. That study was funded by BP.

 

Source: Think Progress

Date: February 2015

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Photo credit: nui7711 / Shutterstock.com


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