Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Uncovers New Tool to Aid in Dolphin Strandings

02.05.2014

Blood values, other indicators can better enable responders to triage care

The cause of dolphin strandings has long been a mystery but a new study shows that clues about survival rates after release may be found in the sea mammal’s blood.

Published online ahead of print in Marine Mammal Science, the study analyzed blood work and body condition values from stranded common dolphins and compared them with survival rates after release. Responders in the field are now using the blood and health data to make better release decisions and predict survival outcomes.

“The establishment of these blood values provides a window into the overall health of the dolphin and, for responders onsite, collecting blood in the field is relatively easy to do,” said Sarah Sharp, the paper’s lead author and a third-year D.V.M. candidate at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. “Now we have a way to predict which stranded dolphins have a better chance of survival after release and this can help triage care.”

The paper’s authors—including Dr. Joyce Knoll, an associate professor at the Cummings School and Sharp’s mentor, and researchers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution—analyzed blood samples and body condition scores of 26 common dolphins that were stranded alive on the beaches of Cape Cod, Mass., between January 2010 and June 2012, and found significant hematological differences between survivors and non-survivors. Since 2010, IFAW has been operating a satellite tagging program to evaluate the post-release success of stranded dolphins, and the authors used this data to assess survival rates.

Dolphins that didn’t survive the stranding or a three week post-release period had anemia and lower levels of red blood cells. Some potential causes of anemia in dolphins are chronic disease, poor nutrition, blood loss, pregnancy or liver disease. When compared to survivors, failed dolphins also had an increased concentration of acid in their blood, were dehydrated and had leaner body mass relative to their length. These health indicators and blood values, in addition to necropsy findings, suggest that the dolphins may have had pre-existing illnesses, stranding-induced conditions such as capture myopathy (a metabolic muscle disease resulting from the physical stress of being stranded on land), or both.

“Our team is already utilizing this new information in our stranding response protocols,” said Katie Moore, IFAW’s Animal Rescue Program Director. “This study is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work for our staff and volunteers. I have no doubt that it will help us to improve our responses and the care of individual animals.”

Prior to starting her veterinary studies, Sharp was the stranding coordinator for IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research Program on Cape Cod. During her seven years in the field, she responded to approximately 50 mass stranding events, oversaw response to more than 1,200 individually stranded marine mammals, pioneered IFAW’s cetacean satellite tagging program, and trained stranding responders both domestically and internationally. She has experienced the challenges of assessing stranded dolphins’ overall health, especially with mass strandings when multiple animals need care.

Sharp participated in the 2012 Student Summer Research Program at Tufts University and her research was funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The John J. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Program provided support for stranding response efforts during the study period, and the Pegasus Foundation and Barbara Birdsey helped fund the IFAW Satellite Tag Program.

Dolphin strandings occur with consistency on Cape Cod, which has one of the highest cetacean stranding rates in the world. Over the 10-year period ending in 2011, common dolphins represented approximately one-third of the 1,300 cetaceans stranded in this area, making this research an invaluable tool in the rapid response and humane care of these mammals.

Sharp, S. M., Knoll, J. S., Moore, M. J., Moore, K. M., Harry, C. T., Hoppe, J. M., Niemeyer, M. E., Robinson, I., Rose, K. S., Brian Sharp, W. and Rotstein, D. (2013), Hematological, biochemical, and morphological parameters as prognostic indicators for stranded common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12093

About Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals and four clinics that combined log more than 80,000 animal cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health.

Rushmie Nofsinger | newswise
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

Further reports about: Cummings Dolphin IFAW Marine Medicine Strandings Veterinary animals blood cetacean dolphins mammals satellite

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Greenhouse gases unbalanced
25.03.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

nachricht Nova Southeastern University researcher part of team researching DNA of tigers
23.03.2015 | Nova Southeastern University

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Surface-modified nanoparticles endow coatings with combined properties

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Novel sensor system provides continuous smart monitoring of machinery and plant equipment

26.03.2015 | Trade Fair News

Common bacteria on verge of becoming antibiotic-resistant superbugs

26.03.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>