The Science Behind Mass Strandings

Scientists are investigating the root cause of a mass stranding of 100 false killer whales in the Everglades last month.

Published February 22, 2017

The false killer whales —a type of dolphin that resembles orcas— stranded near Key Largo in Florida. Teams of volunteers and NOAA representatives attempted to save the false whales, but many expired before the first responders arrived. Biologists hope to learn more about the incident by conducting necropsies on the whales. false-whale

Unfortunately, this is not the first case we've seen of marine mammals stranding en masse. Species of whales and dolphins appear to strand themselves for inconsistent and inexplicable reasons. While there’s no easy answer, the scientific community continues to search for explanations for each stranding event. Connections have been drawn between the use of sonar, widespread disease and poisonous "red tides," which are a bloom of toxic red dinoflagellates. Each incident is unique and causes biologists to question the source of the mammals’ behavior.

Learn more about the false whale stranding here and read more about stranding events in general here

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