Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dolphin Die-Off in Gulf of Mexico Spurred by BP Oil Spill:  Scientists

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries photo shows one of the stranded dead dolphins that came ashore in 2012 along the Louisiana coast that was being photographed for study in this July 30, 2012 photo released on May 20, 2015. (Credit: Reuters/Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries/Handout) Click to Enlarge.
A record dolphin die-off in the northern Gulf of Mexico was caused by the largest oil spill in U.S. history, researchers said on Wednesday, citing a new study that found many of the dolphins died with rare lesions linked to petroleum exposure.

Scientists said the study of dead dolphins tissue rounded out the research into a spike of dolphin deaths in the region affected by BP Plc's oil spill that was caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

Millions of barrels of crude oil spewed into Gulf waters, and a dolphin die-off was subsequently seen around coastal Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"Dolphins were negatively impacted by exposure to petroleum compounds," from the spill, said Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation and lead author of the study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

"Exposure to these compounds caused life-threatening adrenal and lung disease that has contributed to the increase of dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico," she added.

Read more at Dolphin Die-Off in Gulf of Mexico Spurred by BP Oil Spill:  Scientists

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