Scientists believe that the increased number of stranded stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2013 was likely caused by chronic illnesses in mothers who were exposed to oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, according to a new report which looked at dolphins found along the shorelines of Alabama, Louisiana and Missisippi.
88% of the stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the area effected by the spill (compared with 15% in areas outside) had abnormal lungs, which in some cases were partially or completely collapsed. Their small size suggested they had either died in the womb or soon after. The study also showed that pregnant dolphins were found to be far more likely to suffer from late-term pregnancy failures and related illnesses.
Nearly 1500 dolphins have been found dead along the Gulf Coast in the years since the spill. The long-term effects of the spill on reproduction in dolphins remain unknown.
Fetal distress and in utero pneumonia in perinatal dolphins during the Northern Gulf of Mexico unusual mortality event
Download at: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms