Research Highlights 2

Ongoing Dolphin Lung Study


Dolphin Quest began supporting this ongoing dolphin lung study in 2013. The main objective of the study is to develop minimally invasive methods and equipment for pulmonary (lung) function testing in cetaceans. Pulmonary function testing has the potential to provide critical information about cetaceans for early detection of disease, diagnosis, the evaluation of response to therapy, and monitoring of disease progression. Much of this testing was done at Dolphin Quest Oahu and Dolphin Quest Bermuda through voluntary trained sessions with the animals.

By testing these methods in a controlled environment at Dolphin Quest and other Alliance member institutions, baseline lung function information for the species is being established that can be used for lung health evaluations of dolphins in human care and in the wild.


  • García-Párraga, D., Moore, M. and Fahlman, A. (2018). Pulmonary ventilation– perfusion mismatch: a novel hypothesis for how diving vertebrates may avoid the bends. Proceedings Royal Society B 285: p. 20180482-2018048.
  • Fahlman A, McHugh K, Allen J, Barleycorn A, Allen A, Sweeney J, Stone R, Faulkner Trainor R, Bedford G, Moore MJ, Jensen FH, and Wells R (2018) Resting Metabolic Rate and Lung Function in Wild Offshore Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, Near Bermuda. Front. Physiol. 9:886. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00886
  • Fahlman, A., Brodsky, M., Wells, R., McHugh, K., Allen, J., Barleycorn, A., Sweeney, J. C., Fauquier, D. & Moore, M. 2018 Field energetics and lung function in wild bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in Sarasota Bay Florida. Royal Society Open Science 5, 171280. (DOI:10.1098/rsos.171280).
  • Fahlman, A., Loring, S. H., Levine, G., Rocho-Levine, J., Austin, T. and Brodsky, M. (2015). Lung mechanics and pulmonary function testing in cetaceans Journal of Experimental Biology 218, 2030-2038.

Affiliate Organizations:  (These vary based on the particular published work.) Dolphin Quest, Fundación Oceanogràfic, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, c/o Mote Marine Laboratory, Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, Office of Protected Resources, NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service, Department of Life Science, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, PaxArms, Ltd, V.M.D. Consulting

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