Tonight I am chairing “Love Your Lagoon,” a fundraiser of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation. http://www.indianriverlagoon.org. Funds will support and benefit the HBOI Symposium, that occurred yesterday and will again next year. Over 300 scientists and students from across the state collaborated giving presentations on “bio-diversity,” within the 156 miles lagoon and it’s changes. It was an inspiring and depressing day.
I first became became intrigued with Harbor Branch four years ago when I read the research of Dr. Gregory Bossert and lobo mycosis numbers in southern IRL/SLR dolphins.
His research documents that the southern IRL dolphins are “sicker” that their lagoon comrades north of them. Dolphins are site specific and have strong family and territorial bonds. Their ranges generally are limited to one “area” of the lagoon. So even when water quality is awful from discharges, they stay, as we would to protect our homes after a hurricane.
Dr Bossert’s work states the polluted discharges from local canals and Lake Okeechobee are the reason southern IRL dolphins are even “sicker” with lobo mycosis. Since his research came out in the mid 2000s, starting in 2013, a “UME” Unexplained Mortality Event has taken the life of 92 northern lagoon dolphins, 132 manatees, 350 pelicans and 40 percent of the seagrasses have died since a “super-bloom”/brown tide in the northern/central lagoon that started in 2011.
Love Your Lagoon? South, north or central, I think we better save it.