dolphins tagged posts

Dolphin reef playgrounds at risk from climate change

Pacific bottlenose dolphins treat their skin conditions in coral reef spas, a new study has found. The dolphins are regular customers at specific Red Sea reefs, where they rub up against certain types of corals that contain distinct active medicinal compounds, according to the study, published on Thursday in iScience. 

Repeated rubbing allows these chemicals “to come into contact with the skin of the dolphins,” Gertrud Morlock, of Germany’s Justus Liebig University Giessen, said in a statement. 

This could help dolphins prevent or treat microbial infections, Morlock added.

“Many people don’t realize that these coral reefs are bedrooms for the dolphins, and playgrounds as well,” co-author Angela Ziltener of the University of Zurich added. 

“It’s almost like they a...

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Stop the hunt of dolphins and small whales

More than 100,000 dolphins and small whales are hunted and killed every year. Most hunts are unregulated, illegal and unsustainable with unknown impacts on populations. A huge pod of white-sided dolphins were brutally slaughtered in the Faroe Islands yesterday evening with nearly 1,500 specimens slaughtered during the gruesome hunt. The slaughter has invoked outrage from animal rights activists.

The hunt, known as the ‘grindadráp’, was held over the weekend with local whalers targeting a massive pod of white-sided dolphins. The Danish autonomous Faroe Islands remain the last territory in Europe allowed to hunt marine mammals, as the grindadráp is considered to be an example of traditional “aboriginal whaling.”

During the grindadráp, dolphins are herded by motorboats toward...

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Common dolphin populations at risk

While consumers look out for the Dolphin Safe mark on seafood purchases, a major research stocktake of Australian-New Zealand waters gives new guidelines to managers of dolphin fisheries. The extensive new genomic study of almost 500 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), spanning multiple spatial areas of more than 1500 sq km from the southern and east coast of Australia to Tasmania and New Zealand, calls for greater collaboration between the two countries’ conservation and fisheries plans. 

Just published in Frontiers in Marine Science, the study of DNA diversity of several dolphin populations in Australia and NZ suggests connectivity between several populations of common dolphins across the Tasman Sea. 

The common dolphins of the Pacific Ocean (eastern Australia and NZ) are highly...

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Ocean pollutants ‘have negative effect on male porpoise fertility’

Long-lived banned industrial chemicals may be threatening the fertility of male porpoises living off the UK. Polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) were phased out decades ago, but can build up in whales, dolphins and porpoises. Scientists say harbour porpoises exposed to PCBs had shrunken testicles, suggesting an effect on sperm count and fertility.

They say that while these are preliminary findings, more must be done to clean up the oceans.

PCBs have been linked with a number of threats to whales and dolphins, but research has focused on mothers and their young.

A study led by scientists at the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found high levels of PCBs were linked to smaller testicles in otherwise healthy animals.

They think this could have an impact ...

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Dolphins exposed to ‘cocktail of pollutants’ in English Channel

Dolphins living in the English Channel are exposed to a “cocktail of pollutants”, say scientists. A study found some of the highest recorded levels of toxic chemicals and mercury in the bodies of bottlenose dolphins off the French coast.

Researchers say more needs to be done to tackle the “invisible” problem of lingering pollutants in the oceans.

The Channel is home to one of the last remaining large European populations of bottlenose dolphins.

Researchers took tissue samples from more than 80 dolphins living in waters off Normandy and Brittany.

They found high concentrations of mercury in skin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in blubber.

Other industrial chemicals, such as dioxins and pesticides, were also found in blubber samples, which together may act as a “cocktail of pollutan...

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Dolphins celebrate new year on … er, puffer fish?


One of the cleverest creatures in the animal kingdom has discovered an unconventional way to get high. And, so, maybe the New Year celebrations were a lot of Puff!.

Some dolphins are (ahem) puffing on puffer fish, which release nerve toxins when provoked that can cause a narcotic effect, reports London’s The Sunday Times. Underwater footage from a new two-part BBC1 documentary series, “Dolphins: Spy in the Pod,” shows young dolphins milking the fish of their toxins and then passing the fish to other dolphins.

“This was a case of young dolphins purposely experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating,” Rob Pilley, a zoologist and a producer on the series, told the Times...

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Dolphin radar could help detect bombs


British engineers have taken inspiration from dolphins for a new type of radar that could help detect roadside bombs more easily. The device sends out two pulses instead of one, mimicking how dolphins pinpoint their prey. The twin inverted pulse radar (TWIPR) can distinguish between the electronics at the heart of an explosive and other “clutter” such as pipes or nails. Experts said the system “showed promise”.

The radar device has been developed by a team led by Prof Tim Leighton, of the University of Southampton, and scientists from University College, London.

Strong signal

Prof Leighton took his inspiration from the way dolphins are able to process their sonar signals to pinpoint prey in bubbly water.

Some dolphins blow bubble nets around schools of fish to force them to cluster toge...

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