So much for the domoic acid theory. This was in the work email tonight:
The Blue Whale necropsied at Pt. Mugu did not have any detectable levels of domoic acid in its system. We are still awaiting results from several other analyses, however this may be a case of animals feeding in the wrong place at the wrong time.
NOAA has opened an additional UME specifically for the recent Blue Whale strandings. Michelle Berman, Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is the NOAA appointed on-site coordinator of this state-wide UME investigation.
Ms. Berman is also the coordinator of the open April 2007 UME, which indicated the status of the algal bloom occurring off the coast and domoic acid (DA) concentrations in the plankton were reported to be the worst ever recorded.
A UME is an unusual mortality event defined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”
ALERT: NOAA continues to ask the public to notify the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of any floating whales seen in Southern California waters. Please contact the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History at 805-682-4711 ext. 157.