Whilst this work continues we have already made some key findings
The main aim of our research is to determine the cause of death of porpoises and other cetaceans that have been washed ashore along the Dutch coastline. The long-term nature of this project is key to us being able to detect trends in the data and spot exceptions. In addition to this monitoring work we are also investigating certain subjects.
Wounds caused by grey seals
The cause of the wounding that is often reported on stranded porpoise carcasses was until recently not known. However, joint research performed by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, IMARES and NIOZ (the Dutch Institute for Marine Research) has shown that these are bite and tear wounds; DNA testing confirmed the grey seal as the perpetrator. This multidisciplinary investigation helped us to solve this mystery and discover a previously unknown cause of death in porpoises; furthermore one that is seen relatively commonly in carcasses washed up in the Netherlands!