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Posted Wed Mar 30 2011: from Life Science News, via EurekAlert:
Whale and dolphin death toll during Deepwater disaster may have been greatly underestimated
The team focused their research on 14 species of cetacean, an order of mammals including whales and dolphins. While the number of recovered carcasses has been assumed to equal the number of deaths, the team argues that marine conditions and the fact that many deaths will have occurred far from shore mean recovered carcasses will only account for a small proportion of deaths.... The team's analysis suggests that only 2 percent of cetacean carcasses were ever historically recovered after their [natural] deaths in this region, meaning that the true death toll from the Deepwater Horizon disaster could be 50 times higher than the number of deaths currently estimated.... "While we did not conduct a study to estimate the actual number of deaths from the oil spill, our research reveals that the accepted figures are a grave underestimation," concluded Dr. Williams. "We now urge methodological development to develop appropriate multipliers so that we discover the true cost of this tragedy."
[Read more stories about: marine mammals, oil issues, contamination, toxic water]
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