During 2013-2015, bottlenose dolphins began stranding along the Atlantic Coast at a rate four-fold higher than average due to a morbillivirus outbreak. As bottlenose dolphins are top ocean predators, such mass mortality events can have drastic consequences to overall ecosystem health. Researchers will develop a model of key processes that drive infectious disease transmission in bottlenose dolphins, including social, migratory and demographic structures. This new tool will help researchers and wildlife managers forecast potential disease outbreaks and provide earlier intervention to save more animals. This approach also may help us understand how infectious disease might impact other migratory marine species and inform data collection to mitigate disease spread and promote conservation research in marine species.
Grant amount awarded
Shweta Bansal, PhD