A new study published today shows that in the years following the April, 2010 through July 15, 2010, an unusually high number of pregnant dolphins gave birth to too small offspring. Many of these premies who were less than 115 cm in size had died by the time their bodies washed up along the shores of the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists wrote in Inter-Research Diseases of Aquatic Organisms that when comparing 69 bottlenose perinatal dolphin strandings to 26 reference strandings from another period at Florida and South Carolina, far more were found to have died shorty after birth (88 versus 15 percent), have pneumonia not linked to lungworm infection (65 versus 19 percent), and have fetal distress (87 percent versus 27 percent).
"These results support that from 2011 to 2013, during the northern Gulf of Mexico UME (Unusual Mortality Event), bottlenose dolphins were particularly susceptible to late-term pregnancy failures and development of in utero infections."
The news comes almost six years after the BP oil spill began in the Gulf, an event lasting 87 days before the Macondo well was capped. Copious amounts of controversial and highly toxic dispersant Corexit, banned in the UK, were airdropped in affected areas following the spill.
Many studies are being conducted on effects of the dispersants, which have been worse on mammalian health, many say, than the oil alone.
The study's lead author was Kathleen M. Colegrove from the Zoological Pathology Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This article was originally published on Examiner.com, Apr. 12, 2016Photo: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Images. A bottlenose dolphin, http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/fauna-animals-public-domain-images-pictures/dolphins-public-domain-images-pictures/bottlenose-dolphin.jpg,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service