Scientists to study if sonar had role in dolphins' deaths

Arizona Republic

04/30/06

Scientists tried to discover Saturday why hundreds of dolphins washed up dead on a beach popular with tourists on the northern coast of Zanzibar. Among other possibilities, marine biologists were examining whether U.S. Navy sonar threw the animals off course. Villagers and fishermen were burying the remains of the roughly 400 bottlenose dolphins, which normally live in deep offshore waters but washed up Friday along a 2 1/2-mile stretch of coast in Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago. ... Some scientists surmise that loud bursts of sonar, which can be heard for miles in the water, may disorient or scare marine mammals, causing them to surface too quickly and suffer the equivalent of what divers call the bends, when sudden decompression forms nitrogen bubbles in tissue...

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