Sunday, 19 July 2009

Gas Bubbles in Seals, Dolphins, and Porpoises Entangled and Drowned at Depth in Gillnets

Gas bubbles were found in 15 of 23 gillnet-drowned bycaught harp (Pagophilus groenlandicus), harbor (Phoca vitulina) and gray (Halichoerus grypus) seals, common (Delphinus delphis) and white-sided (Lagenorhyncus acutus) dolphins, and harbor porpoises (Phocaena phocaena) but in only 1 of 41 stranded marine mammals.

Studies have suggested that under some circumstances, diving mammals are routinely supersaturated and that these mammals presumably manage gas exchange and decompression anatomically and behaviorally. This study provides a unique illustration of such supersaturated tissues. We suggest that greater attention be paid to the radiology and pathology of bycatch mortality as a possible model to better understand gas bubble disease in marine mammals.

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