Exposure to Domoic Acid is an Ecological Driver of Cardiac Disease in Southern Sea Otters

Sea Otter Data

A 16-year study of 186 sea otters in California demonstrated the deadly health effects of long-term Domoic Acid (DA) exposure. DA is a toxin that causes neurological and cardiovascular issues. Researchers developed a novel, composite metric for DA exposure, which combined three environmental monitoring datasets using a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate long-term environmental DA exposure. Data was collected from observation, VHF transmitters, and Wildlife Computers TDR tags. The study found that DA exposure led to an increase in fatal cardiomyopathy and those otters who consumed more crab and clams were at higher risk.


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