Happy September to Everyone!
Since its inception in 1972, computerized tomography has revolutionized the ability to diagnose, treat, and monitor injuries and pathology in humans. Computerized tomography (CT) involves serial, radiological, cross-sectional scans, resulting in detailed, three-dimensional images of internal anatomy (Wellington & Vinegar, 1987). This tool was adopted for use in domestic veterinary medicine in 1989 and later utilized in post-mortem assessments of wild, stranded cetaceans (Schwarz & Saunders, 2011). In 2004, the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program conducted the first live dolphin CT scans to provide insight into cranial anatomy (Houser et al., 2004).
The four pillars of DPMMR include Animal Care, Education and Outreach, Scientific Investigation, and Rescue and Rehabilitation. While all four pillars are critical to our Connect to Protect mission, one of the most important is Animal Care, which for us simply means providing the absolute best care and welfare for the dolphins that reside at our facility and depend on us.
Alfonz – February is a month of love and Alfonz has been our very own Cupid this month! For the past few weeks, he has been very flirtatious with the other dolphins and has been showing off his best selection of creative behaviors to impress the ladies.
Although our focus is whales and dolphins, we will never say "no" to helping out with our other marine mammal friends in the Florida Keys: the Florida Manatee.
The research department was honored to publish our article, The Effects of Reproductive Status and Water Temperature on the Caloric Intake of Tursiops truncatus in Aquatic Mammals last month. This manuscript is the culmination of over a decade of data collection to advance our understanding of odontocetes' energetic requirements. Several studies have examined the consumption patterns and energy requirements of cetaceans, yet little is known about how these values change with respect to reproductive status and small scale changes in water temperature. Access to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) living under human care in natural seawater enclosures allows for a detailed look into diet (i.e., specific to each catch), intake, and relative energetic adjustments made in response to reproductive and thermoregulatory demands. This project aimed to provide valuable information regarding the complex intersection between life history, season, and prey resources. These data may provide conservative estimates of caloric need for extrapolation to free-ranging populations to estimate the carrying capacity of specific habitats, the resilience of cetaceans in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressure and environmental change, and the impact dolphins have on prey resources and trophic cascades.
Topics: Animal Welfare