Feb 19, 2019 | Updated: 07:58 AM EST

Spinner Dolphin Babies Scuba Tanks Under Threat In Tuna Fisheries

Apr 21, 2017 05:58 AM EDT


Deep ocean dolphins mostly have well-developed oxygen storage. However, a new research has found that late bloomer spinner dolphin calves are not able to develop the same type of feature, despite them living in the deep sea. This is what is endangering the species while confronted with high-speed pursuits of tuna fisheries.

According to Phys.org, although spinner dolphins are born in water, their deep diving systems are not fully developed to function at their birth. The oxygen holding capacity gradually increases in this marine within 1 to 3 years of age in the baby dolphins. In fact, they develop at the same rate as that of their other variant living near the coastal areas.  

The researchers have gone through the procedure of measuring the oxygen storage capacity and muscle biochemistry of the spinner dolphins, and have come to the conclusion that the muscles of the deep-sea dolphins don't mature any faster than the coastal ones. The researchers have also seen that the muscles in dolphins are better prepared to neutralize lactic acid formed in the muscles, and can switch to anaerobic respiration on the expiration of all their oxygen towards the end of a dive.

According to the Earth, the researchers have found that the presence of "myoglobin" is what helps them to carry oxygen. Myoglobin is a protein in the bloodstream of dolphins that helps them to carry oxygen. This is important for deep diving spinner dolphins as it helps them not to surface for almost an hour at times. However, the development of myoglobin tends to be slow in baby dolphins than the adult ones.

As per the researchers, this slow development in the blood of the young spinner dolphins can put them at the risk of getting separated from their mothers. This is a very common phenomenon that can take place during a high-speed chase by commercial tuna fishing fleets.

This is an alarming problem faced by the dolphin population. However, researchers are looking to find out ways to shed more light on the developmental issues of these species, so that it can be possible to resolve the problems causing the population of spinner dolphins to decline.  

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