WDCS colleagues are on site in South Uist and are reporting from the rescue site
Pollution has long been known to affect marine life with disasterous effects. The oil spill in the Timor Sea is a direct and current example. Algal blooms have been suspected of being linked to pollution by some scientists, but it would seem that algal blooms are having a very real affect on marine mammals.
It would seem now that the toxins produced in algal blooms have been shown to affect the hippocampus in sealions. The hippocampus is responsible for our animal's spatial awareness and it may be this impact on the hippocampus is causing sealions to get lost and stray into unusual places.
I wonder how much pollution is having an affect on cetaceans? Can we make the leap and suggest that pollution may be affecting the hippocampus of other marine mammals we see in strandings?
Strandings have a large number of causal factors but maybe this work takes us another step towards understanding the role pollution plays.