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Toxic Algal Bloom in Florida Causes State of Emergency

The Governor of Florida issued a state of emergency as a toxic algal bloom is causing deaths of many marine species; including turtles, dolphins, manatees, and even a whale shark. This is the first documented case of a whale shark dying from a toxic algal bloom. Although red tides have been in Florida’s history for centuries, the concentration is much higher this summer and animals are stranding and dying at higher than normal rates. Not only is it affecting marine life, but the toxins aerosolized into the air causing respiratory problems in people.

Read more at NOLA

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Marine Mammals Suffer from Human Induced Trauma

The number of marine mammals that suffer from human-induced trauma is on the rise. Most marine mammals that were admitted to rehabilitation centers on the central coast had injuries from marine debris, fishing equipment, and gunshot wounds. Check out the full article in the Monterey Herald

The Stranding Network takes standardized data on all stranded marine mammals called in. One of the most important categories we take note of is evidence of human interaction. If there are no obvious signs of human interaction during an external exam, we mark it as cannot be determined, unless proven otherwise after a necropsy.  The details we take in this category provide meaningful data that can be used for researchers working to combat the problem of human-induced trauma among marine mammals. This data can also be used to spread awareness of human-induced trauma of marine mammals to the public and mitigate prevention efforts.

Our Survey Slug program is currently taking data on various types of marine debris in addition to collecting it. Not only are we reducing the amount of marine debris in our local beaches, but the data collected can also be used for research and potential efforts to reduce its impact. 

Sea lions in Monterey County diagnosed with Leptospirosis

The Mercury News recently published an article reporting that the Marine Mammal Center in the Monterey Bay has diagnosed several sea lions with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread through urine, which can easily infect other animals including humans. Infections caused by leptospirosis can lead to kidney and liver failure and death in many sea lions. The Marine Mammal Center is working diligently to rescue them and rehabilitate them before it is too late. Infected sea lions show symptoms of drinking water and folding their flippers on their abdomen, it is important for the public to report sea lions suspected of leptospirosis infection because sea lions are spreading this contagious bacteria in the ocean and beaches.

Read the full article in the San Jose Mercury News.


Recent Publication Links Environmental Change with Strandings

A recent study by Truchon and co-authors found a significant link between environmental change and the number of marine mammal strandings in the St. Lawrence ecosystem. This is another reminder about how important stranding response is because it shows how much we learn about workings of the ocean and global ecosystem in addition to marine mammals! 

You can read more about this interesting study below and the full article is available for free at PLOS one.

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