Warmer Seas May Be Changing Dolphin Spread

LONDON, Aug. 16 (UPI) — A change in the kinds of dolphins being spotted in the waters off northeastern England could be caused by warmer seas, researchers say.

A survey by the North East Cetacean Project found increased sightings of common, bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins, all species associated with warmer water, the BBC reported Sunday.

A simultaneous drop in the number of sightings of white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises, which prefer colder water, has been reported, scientists say.

“This research adds to the growing body of evidence that some species of whales and dolphins are showing shifts in distribution, possibly as a result of increasing sea temperatures,” Dr. Tom Brereton, who analyzed the findings, says.

“For example, common dolphins have been spreading north in recent years, presumably due to warming sea temperatures,” he says.

The cetacean project is asking the region’s fishermen, recreational dive and angling boats, yachtsmen and pleasure craft operators to report offshore sightings of dolphins and porpoises, the BBC said.

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