Health and Physiology

Bottlenose dolphin visual health index: 2012 update

Feb 07, 2013 No Comments

The goal of the bottlenose dolphin visual health index project is to create a method that allows researchers to determine the condition of individual dolphins by examining external features visible in photographs taken remotely, as during photo-identification projects. If photos are taken of enough individuals to form a representative sample of a population, the collective [...]

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2012 Bottlenose dolphin health assessments in Sarasota Bay

Feb 05, 2013 No Comments

We conducted two highly successful dolphin health assessment sessions in Sarasota Bay during 2012. The first, during 7-11 May, was funded primarily by Dolphin Quest and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).  A team totaling 110 researchers, veterinarians, students, and dolphin handlers participated in the project, with some coming from as far away as Brazil, [...]

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Collaborative study with NOAA shows some Gulf dolphins severely ill

Jan 19, 2013 No Comments

Bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, LA, a site which received significant and prolonged oiling following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are showing signs of ill health. The dolphins were evaluated in August, 2011 as part of a collaborative study involving NOAA and CZS. Methods for the assessment were modeled after those developed by the Sarasota [...]

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Understanding mercury and selenium in Sarasota Bay dolphins

Jan 13, 2013 No Comments

The Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) considers it a great opportunity and privilege to work with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program as we investigate mercury (Hg) in our ocean systems. Working with colleagues who are experts in marine mammals offers a window (sentinel species) for us, especially when high quality [...]

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What is the value of a unique, long-term dolphin research and conservation program?

Jan 11, 2013 No Comments

2004: More than 100 dolphins wash up on Florida panhandle beaches near St. Joseph Bay, in an unexplained, unusual mortality event (UME). 2009: Scientists find the highest reported levels of PCBs in any marine mammal, in bottlenose dolphins residing near Brunswick, GA. 2010: The BP Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in [...]

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Understanding stress in bottlenose dolphins

Jan 17, 2012 No Comments

January 2012 The overarching goal of this collaborative project is to develop indicators and methods to quantify chronic stress in bottlenose dolphins. Much research has focused on the stimuli which induce stress in marine mammals as well as the hormonal mediators of the stress response. Stress may be induced by a variety factors, including noise, [...]

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The importance of ultrasound examination for dolphin health evaluation

Jan 17, 2012 No Comments

Ultrasound examination is a useful, non-invasive way to rapidly evaluate organ health in animals and humans. Marine mammal veterinarians are using ultrasound with dolphins for routine physical exams, diagnosis of disease, and disease monitoring. In order to accurately assess health and disease, there is a need to standardize ultrasound techniques. The clinical team of the [...]

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Comparing dietary consumption of iron in wild versus captive dolphins

Jan 17, 2012 No Comments

Iron storage disease is becoming a more frequently diagnosed condition in bottlenose dolphins in human care. In other animals and humans, this disease occurs when the body absorbs too much iron usually through the diet. Extra iron in the body builds up in the liver and other organs and this build up can lead to [...]

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Using exhaled breath condensate for marine mammal health assessment

Jan 17, 2012 No Comments

For centuries, anecdotal evidence has suggested that some human diseases have a certain “smell” associated with them. Ancient Chinese and Greek medical texts both refer to a patient’s breath and body odor as an important diagnostic element, and modern doctors often utilize patient breath odor for informal health assessment as well. For example, ketones in [...]

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