Marine scientists say a record number of humpback whales have been found dead on the Brazilian coast this year.

Veterinarian Milton Marcondes of the Humpback Whale Institute said Wednesday at least 75 have died in 2010. The previous high was 41 in 2007. Seven non-humpback whales have also been found dead this year.

Marcondes said most died at sea and their carcasses washed ashore. Some beached while still alive and perished. 

He said the deaths reflect a higher mortality rate.

Scientists are investigating whether disease may be a factor, or if warming oceans may be diminishing the supply of krill that whales eat.

Humpbacks travel from Antarctica to warmer Brazilian waters to reproduce between July and November.