, Volume 118, Issue 4, pp 206-209
Date: 29 May 2004

Decomposition of carrion in the marine environment in British Columbia, Canada

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Decomposition of carrion in the marine environment is not well understood. This research involved the decomposition of pig carcasses in Howe Sound in British Columbia. Freshly killed pigs were submerged at two depths, 7.6 m and 15.2 m. The carcasses were tethered so that they could float or sink, but not drift away. Observations were made from May until October. Decomposition was more greatly influenced by sediment type of the sea floor and whether the carcass remained floating, than by depth. Decomposition stages were modified in the marine environment from that seen on land, or in freshwater and were similar to those reported in human death investigations in the marine environment.