Experts from the MERR Institute spent Saturday morning trying to determine what killed a sub-adult female bottlenose dolphin of the offshore subspeices. The dead dolphin was found around 9 a.m. at the south end of Rehoboth Beach.
Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute executive director, says the offshore subspeices come from the deeper water as opposed to the coastal dolphin that we tend to see from the beach. The offshore dolphins tend to be larger and heavier, but the one that was found dead on Saturday Thurman described as very emaciated and had not appeared to be feeding properly.
Since the death was fairly recent, she said she decided to take the remains back to the MERR Institute lab to check for the presence of any disease that could have contributed to her demise.
Assisted by members of the beach patrol and police, they loaded the dead dolphin into her pickup truck at the end of Prospect Street.
Also this weekend, the MERR Institute investigated the death of a large male loggerhead sea turtle at Big Stone Beach. Thurman said he had been dead for awhile so they did not determine a cause of death.