Pacific Marine Mammal Health Assessments (PMMHA), which began in Fall 2010, are an expansion of NIST marine mammal health assessment collaborations that began in 2002 with bottlenose dolphin wild populations. NIST has a history of involvement in marine mammal health assessment related work sponsored by NOAA National Marine Fishery Service, Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, and Dolphin Quest including, (1) support for the banking of marine mammal tissues in the Marine Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB), (2) designing standardized sample collection protocols, (3) providing technical assistance in the field, (4) development of standard reference and control materials (SRMs), (5) implementation of inter-laboratory comparison exercises using marine mammal tissues, and (6) analyzing samples for trace elements and organic pollutants. PMMHA samples that are archived in the Marine ESB are collected and processed according to detailed standardized protocols, which makes Marine ESB samples specifically useful for analytical analysis of organic contaminants, trace elements, and other chemical analytes. Since the Marine ESB is a long-term storage repository, PMMHA samples are available for research questions involving emerging contaminants or health concerns that arise in the future.
Goals of PMMHA
- Develop standardized methods and protocols for collecting, processing, and archiving samples obtained from live animals and teach collaborating researchers protocols.
- Assess environmental and anthropogenic stressors along with metabolic changes that may impact health of individuals and U.S. Pacific Islands marine mammal populations.
- Bottlenose Dolphins Under Human Care Health Assessment
- Hawaiian Monk Seal Health and Disease Studies
- Hawaiian Cetacean Dart Biopsy Archival and Chemical Analysis
- Hawaiian Monk Seal Rehabilitation