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 Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>