[MARMAM] New Publication: Unusual Mortality Events of Harbor Porpoise Strandings in North Carolina, 1997–2009

Barbie Byrd - NOAA Affiliate barbie.byrd at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 15 06:18:06 PST 2014

Dear MARMAM readers,

We are pleased to announce a recent publication in Journal of Marine
Biology entitled:

*Title:*  Unusual Mortality Events of Harbor Porpoise Strandings in North
Carolina, 1997–2009
*Authors: *Aleta A. Hohn, David S. Rotstein, and Barbie L. Byrd

A marked increase in the frequency of harbor porpoises (*Phocoena phocoena*)
stranded in North Carolina in 2005 was declared as an Unusual Mortality
Event (UME). Strandings occurred in January through May when harbor
porpoises are seasonally present. Increased stranding rates were measured
relative to a threshold to determine that the UME was occurring.The
threshold analysis also revealed elevated strandings during 1999, an
undeclared UME year. Recovered carcasses during 1999 and 2005 accounted for
39% of 261 strandings during 1997–2009. During 2005, of 43 strandings,
primary or secondary causes of mortality included fishery interactions,
emaciation, and interspecific aggression. Apart from small but significant
differences in timing and condition of strandings, composition of
strandings during UME and non-UME years was similar, with most being
young-of-the-year and occurring during March and April, north of Cape
Hatteras. Porpoises had high levels of parasitic infestation typical for
this species. However, no indication of infectious disease and no cause of
the 2005 event were found from gross and histologic findings. Response to
UMEs is challenging, particularly along the expanses of North Carolina
beaches, requiring additional effort to obtain carcasses in sufficiently
fresh condition to determine the cause of these events.

*Full citation details: *
Hohn, Aleta A., David S. Rotstein, and Barbie L. Byrd. 2013. Unusual
Mortality Events of Harbor Porpoise Strandings in North Carolina,
1997–2009. Journal of Marine Biology, vol. 2013, Article ID 289892, 13
pages. doi:10.1155/2013/289892

*The paper is freely downloadable from Journal of Marine Biology:*

If you have any questions, please contact Aleta Hohn (aleta.hohn at noaa.gov)
or Barbie Byrd (barbie.byrd at noaa.gov).


Barbie Byrd
NOAA Beaufort Lab
National Marine Fisheries Service
Protected Resources Branch
101 Pivers Island
Beaufort, NC 28516 USA

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