A simple and clever tool for grey seal health
How do researchers do it? They have to collect, transport, and store many tiny samples. They need these samples to answer critical questions about wildlife health. A new tool in wildlife toxicology is the answer. “Dried blood spot cards” is the name of this tool. Its job is to store blood for later analysis. This practical tool makes it possible to measure pollutants. These marine pollutants are partly responsible for disease outbreaks in marine mammals, including grey seals pups. This research will confirm that these cards are an accurate way to measure marine pollutants. This method is a simple but critical step needed to put this tool into practice. The researchers will collect blood from the 2017 grey seal pups. The pups will be from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and sampled during routine health assessments.
Analysis of results from the cards compared to that of whole blood will confirm that the results from the cards are valid. What's more, this study will be the first to establish a baseline for marine pollutants in a healthy marine mammal population. Often, the logistics are complicated when studying wildlife health. This tool, once confirmed to be accurate, will make logistics a whole lot simpler. That will make it better for the health of wildlife, including those grey seal pups.
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