A female baby dolphin ‘Coral’ is seen in an Aquarium at… In 2007, scientists studying dolphins in the Gippsland Lakes of South Eastern Australia noticed something alarming. Dead dolphins were washing up on shore, covered in skin lesions.
Some of them looked like they had received third-degree burns. At the time, no one was sure what was killing them. Kate Robb, now the head of research at the Marine Mammal Foundation in Australia, was researching the Gippsland Lakes dolphins as a graduate student at Monash University. Her work included cataloging every individual in the population when they were alive.
After they died, she took photos and tissue samples. Necropsies were undertaken at the Melbourne University Veterinary School for later analysis. Robb wanted to know what was happening to the dolphins. She teamed up with wildlife veterinary pathologist Pádraig Duignan, who was working at the Melbourne University Veterinary School, and Nahiid Stephens, a veterinary pathologist at Murdoch University studying a similar dolphin mortality event in Western Australia, to try and solve the mystery.
It turns out the dolphins died because their habitat became desalinated, according to the scientists. Over a decade after the 2007 mortality event, the group published a […]