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New Techniques To Diagnose Possible Noise-Related Strandings Workshop

Workshop Home | Agenda | Documents and Reports | Terms of Reference

In September 2006, a workshop was held to explore the development of new techniques or protocols to assist in the diagnosis of noise-related marine mammal strandings (see terms of reference and documents). The final report produced as a result of that workshop includes three protocols for use by individuals responding to stranded cetaceans:

  1. The first is a marine mammal necropsy protocol to enhance our ability to differentiate acoustic trauma from other factors inducing morbidity and mortality in marine mammals.
  2. The second is a protocol for the removal, fixation, and preservation of cetacean ears to facilitate a more-extensive examination and diagnoses in collaboration with auditory system experts.
  3. The last protocol provides an introduction to biomedical imaging techniques and guidelines for diagnostic imaging of marine mammals to assist with both live examination and necropsy procedures and to provide the majority of stranding-response groups with the most likely options to assist their response efforts.

The purpose of the protocols in this report are not to promote a specific forensic diagnosis of causative factors contributing to a stranding event but rather to provide for the systematic collection of data so that a post-hoc analysis of potential factors influencing cetacean stranding events can be performed and a possible cause of death determined. In addition, the protocols can support long-term research activities investigating a range of natural and anthropogenic causes of cetacean strandings.

The final report, Odontocete Salvage, Necropsy, Ear Extraction, and Imaging Protocols [pdf], published in July 2007.

This project was sponsored by the Department of Navy-Office of Naval Research (ONR) Science and Technology, ORCAS Consulting, and NOAA Fisheries.

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