Dolphins Plus works with Shelby Loos on her Honors Thesis.

Posted on: August 31, 2012

Shelby Loos is a recent graduate from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, with majors in Marine Science and Biology and minors in Chemistry and Psychology.  During an internship at Dolphins Plus in the summer of 2010, she began working on an honors thesis with Drs. Jill Richardson, Holli Byerly, and Micah Brodsky (DVM) comparing hematology diagnostic techniques and determining clinical pathology reference intervals for the population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) at Dolphins Plus. Baseline hematology and blood serum values are critical in determining and assessing the health of all animals.  However, in marine mammal medicine, it is challenging to establish baseline ranges for hematology and blood serum variables due to limited access to wild animals and inherent uncertainties related to ecological, technical/analytical, demographic, and physiological variations. Thus, establishing these values for the Dolphins Plus population, and comparing the diagnostic techniques used to arrive at these values, will contribute to an improved understanding of marine mammal health and our ability to respond to both wild and managed care dolphins in need of clinical intervention.  Shelby is planning to attend vet school after gaining more professional experience.  She is currently working towards submitting her research in a peer-reviewed journal in collaboration with Dr. Brodsky and colleagues from the University of Florida's Aquatic Animal Health Program.