Investigation of Mechanisms for Reproductive Failure in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to Understand Population Recovery Scenarios for Cetaceans
National Marine Mammal Foundation
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Grant Program
Human and/or Institutional Capacity
In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) catastrophe, impacts to bottlenose dolphins in heavily oiled coastal areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico were well documented. The goal of this project is to investigate direct and indirect factors involved in the reproductive impairment observed in bottlenose dolphins following the DWH oil spill in order to better understand the process for population recovery. This research project will adapt and test cutting edge medical technologies for evaluating potential reproductive system disorders and then integrate those technologies for dolphin capture-release field studies in Barataria Bay. Paired studies using the Barataria Bay and Navy dolphin populations will provide a mechanism to refine and validate new and innovative diagnostics and lend additional insight into the progression of disease that increases the risk of a negative reproductive outcome.