The dolphin death toll in the Panhandle has risen to near 50 and officials believe a naturally occurring biotoxin may be to blame.
The National Marine Fisheries Service launched a federal investigation into the deaths on Tuesday to determine why the carcasses began washing up on beaches March 10th.
Biologists say the primary suspect is red tide, or a biotoxin associated with it.
Red tide is a toxic algae bloom known to kill sea life. Test results returned yesterday from samples of fish carcasses in the area showed evidence of red tide.
Investigators say water samples and samples taken from the dolphin carcasses should return more conclusive results within the next few days.