[MARMAM] New publication - relatedness estimates, humpback whales

Cristina Pomilla cp371 at nyu.edu
Wed Jul 12 09:22:45 PDT 2006


Dear Marmamers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article:


CRISTINA POMILLA, HOWARD C. ROSENBAUM (2006)

"Estimates of relatedness in groups of humpback whales (Megaptera  
novaeangliae) on two wintering grounds of the Southern Hemisphere"

Molecular Ecology 15 (9), 2541-2555
doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.02943.x


ABSTRACT:
Group formation in humpback whales has been described in relation to  
different components of the migratory cycle, yet it is debated  
whether such groups represent real social bonding or ephemeral  
aggregations. Cooperative behaviours are exhibited during feeding  
activities, and it has been suggested that males may cooperate during  
competition for mates. Since most cooperative behaviours are expected  
to originate among kin, genetic relatedness represents a critical  
variable in the understanding of any social phenomenon, especially  
when cooperation cannot be confirmed unequivocally. Using an approach  
combining multi-locus microsatellite genotyping and several genetic  
relatedness estimators, we analyzed whale associations for two  
different wintering grounds in the Southern Hemisphere. The analyses  
included 648 whales sampled from 292 groups off the coast of Gabon  
and Northeast Madagascar, and screened for eleven microsatellite  
loci. Through simulations, we assessed the performance of three  
pairwise relatedness estimators. The individuals were molecularly  
sexed and their associations were investigated in the context of sex  
and group type. No significant association among relatives was found  
with the exception of mother–offspring pairs, supporting previous  
indications of extended maternal care. The analysis from the Gabon  
population also suggests that related males may avoid each other  
during competitive activities. Our results demonstrate that if  
cooperative behaviours occur on wintering grounds they are not  
favoured by kin selection.


The paper is available via the Molecular Ecology website
(http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/mec) or reprints can be requested
from:

------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
---------------------------------
Cristina Pomilla, PhD

Institute for Comparative Genomics and Center for Conservation Genetics
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024

Cetaceans Conservation and Research Program, WCS/AMNH

Phone: (212) 3137946
Fax: (212) 7695277
Email: cpomilla at amnh.org; cristina.pomilla at nyu.edu







------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
---------------------------------
Cristina Pomilla, PhD

Cetaceans Conservation and Research Program, WCS/AMNH

Institute for Comparative Genomics and Center for Conservation Genetics
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024

Phone: (212) 3137946
Fax: (212) 7695277
Email: cpomilla at amnh.org; cristina.pomilla at nyu.edu





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