Contributing to our understanding of marine mammals through response and science for over 25 years.

Porpoise Necropsy with Moss Landing Marine Lab

LML stranding operations manager, Dr. Robin Dunkin, performed a necropsy demonstration for the marine mammals class at Moss Landing Marine Labs in September of 2012. Course instructor Dr. Bill Henry and TA, Stephanie Hughes, assisted with the necropsy and students were able to really get a hands-on experience to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of cetaceans. The porpoise was found to have a severe liver problem and tissues were collected for histopathology. The cause of death is currently pending. Below you can see some of the great pictures that Bill Henry took that really capture the elegance and beauty of cetacean anatomy.


harbor_porpoiseA harbor porpoise (P. phocoena) prior to necropsy at Moss Landing Marine Lab.. mlml_student_counter_current_exchangeA moss landing student shows the counter current heat exchange vessels in the dorsal fin.

robin_dunkinDr. Robin Dunkin cuts into the skull of a harbor porpoise to remove the brain. rete_mirabileThe rete mirabile of the harbor porpoise is one of the most developed in cetaceans but as of yet, the function is unclear.