Beaked whales are some of the most under studied whales, due to their deep diving and elusive behavior. A few months ago our team at the Long Marine Lab had the rare opportunity to respond to a live stranded beaked whale on Scott's Creek beach. Unfortunatly the animal was injured, so we made the decision to euthanize the animal. Initially we thought the animal was a different species of beaked whale due to it's color pattern, but we later learned that younger individuals have completly different color morphs than the adults! You can read more about that here.
A couple days ago another beaked whale washed ashore in Point Reyes and it has initially been identified as the same species as the one that stranded on Scott Creek, a Hubb's Beaked Whale. Their suspicions will soon be either confirmed or denied once DNA testing is complete. You can read more about that stranding case here.
Harbor Seal Stranding July 22, 2018
On July 22, 2018 volunteers from the Long Marine Lab Stranding Network responded to this Harbor Seal that stranded at Pajaro Dunes. Because it was fresh we brought it into the lab for necropsy. Here at the the Stranding Network, we try our best to bring all fresh carcasses in for necropsy. This allows us to more accurately investigate the tissues and further find out cause of death. Although, the cause of death looks like the big shark bite on it's side, upon futher investigation during necropsy, we did not find hemorrhage around the wound, indicating that the bite was likely post mortem. We were able to collect samples that we will send to other researchers and for domoic acid testing.
Great White Shark Stranding June 17, 2018
On June 17, 2018 a great white shark stranded on Beer Can beach in Aptos. This is the first shark stranding that our Stranding Network has responded to. Volunteers went out to collect data on the shark and then brought back the 500 pound shark to necropsy the next day. With the assistance of our volunteers, veterinary pathologist Mark Okihiro performed the necropsy on this large animal. The findings of this necropsy lead to a criminal investigation.
Read more here
Sea Lion Stranding January 14, 2013
On January 14, 2013 volunteers from the Long Marine Lab Stranding Network responded to an 800+ pound California Sea Lion that had stranded on Main Beach in Santa Cruz, CA. Given the size of the animal, LML Stranding Network Manager, Dr. Robin Dunkin, worked with officials from the city of Santa Cruz to coordinate a beach necropsy and subsequent burial. The adult male sea lion was in overall good body condition but appeared to have a lung infection. Histology results schoed a mild bronchitis in the lungs, inflammation and focal mucosal polyp in the gall bladder, and mild fibrosis in the liver.
In addition to determining what might have been the cause of death for this individual, additional samples including stomach contents and urine were collected. Analysis of these samples for domoic acid and paralytic shellfish toxin from every fresh dead animal to which we respond, helps us contribute to baseline monitoring of these toxins through the WARRN-West program. You can read more about this program here.
A male California Sea Lion Stranded on Main Beach on January 14, 2013.
Stranding volunteers Linda Minor, Doug Ross, and Elena Cholula helped Robin Dunkin with a beach necropsy to help determine the cause of death of this 800+ male sea lion.