On another front, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program is currently studying the genetic susceptibility of bottlenose dolphins to red tides. Several large scale mortality events of dolphins in the Florida Panhandle have been associated with a red tide bloom. Yet, dolphin populations in central-west Florida, including Sarasota Bay, have suffered little red tide-related mortality although they are frequently exposed.
The Dolphin Program researchers hypothesize that this difference in dolphin susceptibility to algal toxins is due to the evolution of resistance over time in areas, like central-west Florida, that have been historically and regularly exposed to red tides.
We look forward to the publication of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program’s findings.