NOAA recently completed a dolphin health assessment project in Barataria Bay, LA, examining and sampling dolphins for possible sub-lethal effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on bottlenose dolphins.
A team of about 50 veterinarians, biologists and wildlife epidemiologists worked together to conduct the comprehensive health evaluations.
SDRP Director Randy Wells is a co-investigator on the project. SDRP staff members Brian Balmer, Jason Allen and Aaron Barleycorn were also part of the team, as were a number of medical and veterinary researchers who collaborate with the SDRP in our Sarasota Bay research.
32 dolphins were captured, examined, and released after samples of blood, urine, skin, blubber, feces and blowhole swabs were taken for a variety of medical diagnostics. The data from these tests will be compared with previous data from SDRP health assessments in Sarasota Bay, which was not directly impacted by the oil spill.
25 released dolphins received satellite-linked transmitters to allow researchers to monitor the animals over time to better understand their movements, range and preferred habitats. This may assist in future exposure assessment and restoration planning.
For more information, download the NOAA Fact Sheet