Collection of baseline data on cetacean health and causes of mortality for long-term monitoring in Western Australia.
During the last century, human activities have resulted in the reduced quality of oceans throughout the world, and in Western Australia, increasing anthropogenic activities have the potential to further degrade habitat important to cetaceans. All disease is multifactorial and a complex interplay between host, agent and environment. An understanding of the diseases that affect cetaceans and causes of mortality is an important component in the identification and evaluation of threats to the population.
Aims and Objectives:
The aims of this project include:
- identification and characterisation of factors associated with cetacean strandings and;
- determination of baseline and epidemiological information on disease levels.
Specific objectives include:
- collect morphometric and life history data (e.g. size, sex, age class)
- undertake partial and where feasible full post-mortem examinations to acquire information on causes of morbidity and mortality, and to collect tissues for pathogen identification, histopathology and toxicology;
- isolate and identify pathogenic viruses, bacteria, protozoa, or fungi from tissue samples (where appropriate);
- archive tissue samples for long-term disease surveillance, toxicological monitoring, and retrospective study;
- establish beneficial collaborations within WA, nationally and internationally in order to enhance the information gained from the samples collected.