The Atlantic: Killer in The Waves

Killer in The Waves

Alarmed beachgoers from New Jersey to North Carolina have seen more than 200 horribly disfigured bottle-nose dolphins wash ashore this summer with their flesh rotted and their livers damaged. Marine biologists suspect that an additional 200 dolphins have died at sea and that the entire coastal population is endangered. Last week scientists took a step toward identifying the mysterious killing disease: infection from common, usually harmless bacteria known as vibrios.

Investigators have yet to determine just what has weakened the dolphins' resistance to the bacteria. Some speculate that offshore garbage and sewage spills have been the breeding ground for an agent...