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Diving Marine Mammals Gas Kinetics

April 27-29, 2010
Quissett Campus, Watson 201
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Since the first observations of emboli in stranded cetaceans, a diverse set of papers have presented new empirical results and developed models based upon current physiological thinking. However, there is still considerable uncertainty and scientific disagreement about the level of risk posed to diving marine mammals as they manage oxygen and nitrogen, and about the behavioral and physiological responses that would increase or reduce the risk.

During the WHOI Marine Mammal Center workshop we hope to the review the current knowledge on Diving Marine Mammal Gas Kinetics, and the potential risk of decompression sickness in beaked whales and other marine mammal species.

Objectives:

  • Review the current knowledge of the natural history and diving behavior of beaked whales, the necropsy results from stranded animals suggestive of DCS like symptoms, the experimental and theoretical knowledge of marine mammal diving physiology, and the most current paper on inert gas uptake and removal in trained diving dolphins.
  • Discuss the uncertainty and scientific disagreement about the level of risk posed to diving marine mammals as they manage oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, and about the behavioral and physiological responses that would alter DCS risk.
  • Aim to publish (and hopefully reviewed) summary of our current knowledge, the results from the discussions, and some future goals for research that will help improve our knowledge how to mitigate anthropogenic interaction that may result in mass strandings.

Last updated: March 29, 2012