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CSI of the Sea: the science behind cetacean strandings

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Rob Deaville is Project Manager of Cetaceans Strandings Investigation, and has appeared in the news frequently during the recent spate of sperm whale strandings. For centuries, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have stranded around the UK and the reasons behind these strandings were often poorly understood. The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) was set up in 1990, to monitor and investigate strandings around the UK coast through systematic and forensic post-mortem examinations. In the last 25 years, data on over 12000 strandings and nearly 3500 post-mortem investigations have been collected, producing one of the world’s largest datasets on cetacean strandings and pathology. Causes of death have included by-catch (incidental entanglement in fishing gear), infectious disease mediated by exposure to marine pollution, aggressive interspecific interactions from bottlenose dolphins and grey seals, ship strike and a condition analogous to decompression sickness in humans, amongst many others. The research of the CSIP has had a broad impact at a policy, scientific and public level and continues to shed light on marine species and the threats they face in UK waters.

This talk is part of the CCFMarine Seminars series.

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