From June 18-20, members of the CARMMHA research team met at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to discuss preliminary findings from last year’s field efforts.

Drs. Randall Wells and Kathleen Colegrove hosted the meeting in the Great Bear Wilderness classroom, where we were occasionally joined by Hudson the polar bear (a marine mammal!) watching our progress from his adjoining habitat.

One of our primary CARMMHA objectives is to identify and characterize potential health and population trends in cetacean populations from 2010-2018 (i.e., since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill). In the aftermath of the spill, scientists and veterinarians on our team documented a variety of illnesses and diseases in bottlenose dolphins along the Gulf coast. The purpose of last week’s Health Assessment Workshop was to evaluate preliminary findings and discuss how to best synthesize our findings from across the multiple CARMMHA projects.

While in Chicago, we were fortunate enough to be part of a screening of Dispatches from the Gulf 2.

Following the screening, which was held at the Brookfield Zoo, CARMMHA researchers answered questions from an audience of around 160 zoo patrons, employees, and volunteers, as well as members of the general public, on what we’ve learned since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with regard to impacts on marine mammals and their habitats.

We want to thank our exceptional hosts at the Brookfield Zoo, including Dr. Colegrove, Dr. Wells, Tessa Brown, and Hudson the polar bear. We especially want to thank Stacy McDonald for all her help with meeting logistics and organizing the screening. It was a memorable meeting experience, and we were able to accomplish much important work towards the goals of our research consortium!