For centuries, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) have been found stranded around the UK coastline.
But the role of human impacts in causing these events remained unclear until the advent of the collaborative ZSL-led UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP). The CSIP is contracted by UK Government to investigate stranding events to learn about their causes, and collect data that inform efforts to improve the long-term future of vulnerable marine species in our waters.
In the 30-year period since its inception, the CSIP has recorded data on over 17,000 cetacean strandings and investigated over 4,500 through systematic and forensic post-mortem examinations.
A wide variety of causes of death have been diagnosed, ranging from bycatch (incidental entanglement in fishing gear), ship-strike and bottlenose dolphin attack, to a condition analogous to decompression sickness in humans.
The CSIP has also carried out extensive research into a range of threats over this period, including impacts from chemical, acoustic and physical pollution and climate change driven shifts in distribution.
During this anniversary event we explored the work of the CSIP in the UK over the last 30 years and discussed what our research reveals about the threats these species face and the state of the wider marine ecosystem.
James Barnett, Cornwall Marine Pathology Team and CSIP: "The death of a harbour porpoise; a bycatch case study"
Nick Davison, Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, University of Glasgow: "The Darker Side of Dolphins; a bottlenose dolphin attack case"
Dr Andrew Brownlow, Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, University of Glasgow: "Lulu the killer whale: one tragic death in a sea of statistics?"
Rob Deaville, CSIP, Institute of Zoology, ZSL: "Introduction to CSI of the Sea: investigating UK strandings" and "Forever blowing bubbles - gas embolism in a Risso's dolphin"
Watch the event
- This interactive online event was livestreamed to our YouTube channel
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- The event was produced by Eleanor Darbey, and facilitated by Linda DaVolls and Tendai Pottinger.
- To find out more about the speakers and their talk topics, download your Agenda and Abstracts Booklet
- The CSIP team have created a virtual poster and resource page to help provide more information and context to their work, featuring posters, papers, videos, audio, leaflets and other content. This will be available for the next month, so please feel free to take a look and comment and they will try to respond to any questions in due course. You can access the page here.
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