An oil spill can have both lethal and sub-lethal effects on dolphins.
Multiple research efforts are on-going to study the potential impact(s) on dolphins of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which occurred during April – July 2010, .
Bottlenose dolphins are the most common cetacean in inshore waters in the southeastern United States, but little is known about how an oil spill impacts these dolphins.
Dolphins may be impacted by direct contact, ingestion, or by inhaling oil or associated chemicals in the air.
The food chain may also be impacted, which affects dolphins as a top predator.
Efforts are underway to learn more about the spill effects throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico, and the long term research of the SDRP, more than 80 miles from the closest approach of oil from the spill, is important as a benchmark for comparison with areas closer.
Nicks_n_Notches (pdf), the yearly SDRP newsletter reports on a number of research projects related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Articles include:
Research efforts to learn more about spill effects have been funded by the Morris Animal Foundation’s Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund, NOAA, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Florida Institute of Oceanography, and BP.
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