Most students remember dissecting a frog in science class at school, but not everyone has witnessed a dolphin being carefully taken apart and examined. WARNING: this story contains images of a dolphin being dissected.
The dolphin was donated by DPIPWE and had been sitting in a freezer for almost a year before the procedure.
Marine Conservation Program’s Kris Carlyon said the Environment Department takes samples and provides them for research worldwide.
“We get a standard set of samples from all whales and dolphins that we investigate,” he said.
“Normally we’re doing this procedure on a beach and we take some skin, some blubber, a range of internal organ samples, we take some teeth and each one of those samples gives us some specific information.”
Mr Carlyon said skin provides genetic information, blubber indicates toxins and potential pollutants that build up in the tissue, while teeth can reveal age of the animal.
“It all helps build a picture of the health of that animal, it’s ecology and what it’s been doing prior to stranding.”