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Combined expedition will help find causes of death of dolphins of the Black Sea

Scientists are alarmed by decline in the number of Black Sea dolphins. They name pollution of the sea, numerous cases of deaths of animals in fishing nets, and a lack of food supply among the possible reasons for the phenomenon. In order to determine exactly what the dolphins are dying of and assess their state of health, Russian scientists have started a three-year programme of study of the marine mammals of the Black Sea, said Vera Krasnova, Ph.D. (Biology), head of the expedition organised by the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IO RAS).
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Krasnova stressed the uniqueness of the expedition. «Previously, the studies were focused on a narrow scope: they studied, for example, either the distribution and number of dolphins, or they only registered cases of dolphin beachings and tried to determine the causes of their death. Our expedition differs from the previous ones in that it is combined: we not only determine the distribution areas and the number of observed Black Sea dolphins, but also carry out photo-identification of individual animals, we study behaviour, we will carry out toxicological and genetic analyses of bodies found on shore, and other studies», she explained.

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