30 Mar 2011:
Dolphin Death Toll in Gulf
‘Gravely’ Underestimated, Study Says
The number of dolphins and whales killed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill has likely been significantly underestimated
, according to a new analysis. While a reported 101 whale and dolphin
carcasses have washed ashore in the Gulf of Mexico since last April’s spill, the actual death toll could be as much as 50 times higher, since most of the animals likely died far from shore and were never recovered, according to a report published in the journal Conservation Letters
. Using recent species abundance estimates, mortality rates, and historical data on observed strandings for 14 species of cetaceans — an order of mammals that includes dolphins and whales — the researchers calculated that only 2 percent of carcasses are ever recovered in the Gulf region. The difficulty of obtaining a more accurate estimate of cetacean deaths has been compounded by the fact that the spill occurred 40 miles offshore and oil drifted hundreds of miles from coastlines, said Rob Williams, a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Marine Mammal Research Unit and lead author of the study.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.