2011–2012 Bottlenose Dolphin Unusual Mortality Event in Texas
Learn more about this bottlenose dolphin unusual mortality event.
On May 9, 2012, NOAA declared an Unusual Mortality Event for bottlenose dolphins in Texas. The UME lasted from November 2011 to March 2012 and included 126 bottlenose dolphins. The majority of those stranded in 5 counties: Aransas, Calhoun, Kleburg, Galveston, and Brazoria.
There are seven criteria used to determine whether a mortality event is "unusual." A group of marine mammal experts, called the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events, determines whether strandings meet one or more of the criteria before officially declaring a UME. The experts concluded the dolphin strandings in Texas met at least three of the seven criteria established for designation of a UME. They were:
- A marked increase in the magnitude or a marked change in the nature of morbidity, mortality, or strandings when compared with prior records.
- The species, age, or sex composition of the affected animals is different than that of animals that are normally affected.
- Affected animals exhibit similar or unusual pathologic findings, behavior patterns, clinical signs, or general physical condition (e.g., blubber thickness).
- Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program
- Marine Mammal Protection
- Report a stranded dolphin or any marine mammal, alive or dead, to the marine mammal stranding network
- Unusual Mortality Events