Marine Mammals



Protect Wild Dolphin plate Protect Florida Whales plate


 This research is funded by proceeds from the Protect Wild Dolphins and Protect Florida Whales specialty license plates.


pathology lab

Research Overview

  • Conduct comprehensive post-mortem examinations of stranded marine mammals and carry out multiple research goals while serving as a Florida statewide resource for multiple collaborators
  • Retrospective analysis of pathology data, combined with Bottlenose dolphin clinical research findings to provide increased scientific insights into the potential means of predicting disease and mortality in dolphins and possibly other cetacean stocks; the causes of death of dolphins may be related to environmental degradation, which is a critical issue facing estuaries and coastal areas in Florida

Objectives and Studies

  • Basic pathology and archiving: Collect and archive a complete suite of pathological samples from deceased marine mammals for research use by internal and external collaborators
  • Virology: Molecular identification of viruses from Florida bottlenose dolphins
  • Novel imaging methods: Using magnetic resonance and CT imaging to investigate central nervous system abnormalities associated with environmental chemical exposure
  • Biomechanical analysis of the strength and elastic moduli of cancellous bone in aquatic mammals
  • Parasitology: Screening and identification related to pathological signs of disease
  • Prey identification using stomach content analysis

MRI Scan of a Kogia CT