Images of animals stranded on beaches. Text on image reads: Solar Storms and Animal Beaching, cross-disciplinary study of environmental conditions associated with cetacean mass strandings

Cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) mass strandings are a longstanding mystery in the field of marine biology and continue to be recorded in coastal environments around the world. It is unclear whether these events are generally increasing in number or whether the increase is due to increased observer and research efforts, or both. In cetacean mass strandings anywhere from a few to several hundred otherwise healthy animals strand in onshore environments, often for no apparent reason.

The primary deliverable of this project is the first detailed statistical analysis (published in a peer-review journal) of association between cetacean mass strandings and space weather-driven geomagnetic storms. While statistical association does not imply causative connection, the lack of association can be a clear indicator for the lack of physical connection between cetacean mass strandings and space weather.

Project PI:  Dr. Antti Pulkkinen, NASA/GSFC Space Weather Laboratory and Catholic University Physics.

NASA Scientist Studies Whether Solar Storms Cause Animal Beachings - Feb 2, 2017 NASA press release

Can Data Save Dolphins? How Scientists Are Using NASA Data to Study Link Between Solar Storms and Animal Beachings - Dec 8, 2017 NASA press release