Mortality trends of stranded marine mammals on Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts, USA, 2000 to 2006
Bogomolni, Andrea L.
Pugliares, Katie R.
Sharp, Sarah M.
Harry, Charles T.
LaRocque, Jane M.
Touhey, Kathleen M.
Moore, Michael J.
MetadataShow full item record
To understand the cause of death of 405 marine mammals stranded on Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts between 2000 and 2006, a system for coding final diagnosis was developed and categorized as (1) disease, (2) human interaction, (3) mass-stranded with no significant findings, (4) single-stranded with no significant findings, (5) rock and/or sand ingestion, (6) predatory attack, (7) failure to thrive or dependent calf or pup, or (8) other. The cause of death for 91 animals could not be determined. For the 314 animals that could be assigned a cause of death, gross and histological pathology results and ancillary testing indicated that disease was the leading cause of mortality in the region, affecting 116/314 (37%) of cases. Human interaction, including harassment, entanglement, and vessel collision, fatally affected 31/314 (10%) of all animals. Human interaction accounted for 13/29 (45%) of all determined gray seal Halichoerus grypus mortalities. Mass strandings were most likely to occur in northeastern Cape Cod Bay; 97/106 (92%) of mass stranded animals necropsied presented with no significant pathological findings. Mass strandings were the leading cause of death in 3 of the 4 small cetacean species: 46/67 (69%) of Atlantic white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus acutus, 15/21 (71%) of long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas, and 33/54 (61%) of short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis. These baseline data are critical for understanding marine mammal population health and mortality trends, which in turn have significant conservation and management implications. They not only afford a better retrospective analysis of strandings, but ultimately have application for improving current and future response to live animal stranding.
Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 88 (2010): 143-155, doi:10.3354/dao02146.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Mooney, T. Aran; Nachtigall, Paul E.; Vlachos, Stephanie (2009-03-10)There is increasing concern that human-produced ocean noise is adversely affecting marine mammals, as several recent cetacean mass strandings may have been caused by animals’ interactions with naval “mid-frequency” sonar. ...
Dennison, Sophie; Moore, Michael J.; Fahlman, Andreas; Moore, Kathleen M. T.; Sharp, Sarah M.; Harry, Charles T.; Hoppe, Jane M.; Niemeyer, Misty E.; Lentell, Betty J.; Wells, Randall S. (The Royal Society, 2011-10-12)Bubbles in supersaturated tissues and blood occur in beaked whales stranded near sonar exercises, and post-mortem in dolphins bycaught at depth and then hauled to the surface. To evaluate live dolphins for bubbles, liver, ...
Cassoff, Rachel M.; Moore, Kathleen M. T.; McLellan, William A.; Barco, Susan G.; Rotstein, David S.; Moore, Michael J. (Inter-Research, 2011-10-06)Understanding the scenarios whereby fishing gear entanglement of large whales induces mortality is important for the development of mitigation strategies. Here we present a series of 21 cases involving 4 species of baleen ...