In 2007, scientists studying dolphins in the Gippsland Lakes in southeastern Australia watched the ocean wash out dead dolphins with skin lesions similar to third-degree burns out to sea. New research explains why marine animals died.
Keith Robb, head of the Marine Mammal Foundation Research Center in Australia, teamed up with wildlife pathologist Padraig Duignan, who worked at the University of Melbourne Veterinary School, and Nahiid Stevens, a veterinary pathologist at Murdoch University who is studying similar dolphin deaths in Western Australia, to try to unravel the mysterious deaths of dolphins.
According to scientists, the dolphins died due to the fact that their habitat became desalinated.
More than a decade after the mass death of dolphins in 2007, a team of scientists published an article in Nature Scientific Reports that linked the death of dolphins from freshwater skin disease to climate change.
By the way, freshwater is the cause of fatal skin ulcers not only in dolphins but also in whales. The new study cites more evidence for freshwater-related deaths in dolphins. In addition, scientists were able to prove that an increase in the number of extreme weather events due to climate change has led to the fact that populations of dolphins enter more freshwater.
Initially, biologists, ecologists, and pathologists suspected the bacterial or viral nature of the deadly skin ulcers, but this assumption turned out to be wrong. Scientists noted that dolphins can tolerate changes in salinity ranges, but the fluctuations caused by climate change were too severe.