Florida – An animal that is an element of paradise is going through rising challenges to their health.
Michael Williams appears to be like at how dolphins are telling us a narrative about the threats and challenges we too should face
The Indian River Lagoon beckons sailors, fishermen, and the Bottlenose Dolphins we glimpsed with Fau Harbor department scientists.
“We take a picture of their fin that can act like a fingerprint,” mentioned biologist Elizabeth Titcomb. She acquired no photos at the present time however dolphin photograph surveys are a key analysis device
“They really do give us a picture of the health of the overall lagoon,” Titcomb mentioned.
That image just isn’t fairly in a lagoon stretching from the Jupiter Inlet to Merritt Island. Adam Schafer is an epidemiologist finding out the hyperlinks between dolphin and human health.
“We look at mercury concentrations. We are seeing concentrations in our dolphins among the highest that have been recorded in dolphins species worldwide,” Schafer mentioned.
“They are swimming in the same water we are swimming in and they are eating the same fish we are eating,” Titcomb mentioned.
Schafer’s crew discovered elevated mercury ranges amongst leisure fishermen they examined.
“So we actually started another study partnering with local physicians where we have been sampling pregnant women,” Schafer mentioned.
Higher mercury ranges have tended to be in the northern lagoon. Closer to dwelling different stressors are rising.
“The harmful algal blooms are obviously a very significant issue that’s been going on,” Schafer mentioned.
Surveys of lagoon dolphins additionally reveal pores and skin illnesses, together with a fungal illness known as lacaziosis.
“It is a disease that only affects humans and dolphins,” Schafer mentioned.
Human instances of the illness have solely been seen in central and south america. So what is going on on right here?
“Why are we seeing a higher incidence of these lesions in the southern lagoon?” Schafer mentioned.
It’s a rising toll of air pollution from business and farms and what we flush down our drains and out of our yards.
“We are actually seeing antibiotic resistant bacteria in these dolphins,” Titcomb mentioned.
“We need to quit using places like the indian river lagoon as a dumping ground, intentionally or unintentionally,” Schafer mentioned.
“Exactly, I mean I’m sure most of the time it is unintentional but there are proper ways to dispose of medication. There are different pesticides that can be used that are more environmentally friendly,” Titcomb mentioned.