A recent surge in dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico may be related to the devastating 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a study published in PLoS ONE on Wednesday. Researchers found many of the more than 1,300 bottlenose dolphins that have stranded themselves in the region since 2010 had lung and adrenal-gland lesions, which are indicative of exposure to petroleum compounds. The study’s authors concluded that the spill, which began with the explosion of a BP drilling rig, likely drove the record dolphin die-off in the area.
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