After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest oil spill on open water to date, residents along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico witnessed a spike in the numbers of dolphins washing ashore. Suspicions linking the increase in dolphin deaths to the oil contamination led authorities to treat the dead dolphins as evidence against BP.
Almost half of the dead dolphins were young, many described as “perinatal,” or near birth. Studies quickly indicated that many of the baby dolphins were stillborn. But the cause of the increase in stillbirths — 6 times the average rate — as well as dolphin strandings in general remained unclear.
A study published in PLoS ONE now attributes the dolphin deaths to a “Perfect Storm” of stressors, starting with the depletion of the food chain relied upon by dolphins, leaving the dolphins weakened and unable to survive a series of temperature drops as larger than average snow melt volumes flooded into the gulf.
Read more @ Dolphin Deaths in Gulf of Mexico due to BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the ‘Perfect Storm’