[MARMAM] Genetic differentiation in bottlenose dolphins

Kerstin Bilgmann kbilgman at gse.mq.edu.au
Mon Aug 6 16:38:30 PDT 2007

Dear Marmam Readers,

We would like to announce the release of the following publication in Marine Ecology Progress Series:

Kerstin Bilgmann, Luciana M. Moller, Robert G. Harcourt, Susan E. Gibbs, Luciano B. Beheregaray 2007. Genetic differentiation in bottlenose dolphins from South Australia: association with local oceanography and coastal geography. Marine Ecology Progress Series 341:265-276. 


For many marine organisms, including large, long-lived predators, the factors affecting
connectivity between populations are still largely unknown. We assessed levels of genetic differentiation
and dispersal patterns of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops sp. across Spencer Gulf and coastal areas
west of the gulf in the Great Australian Bight, South Australia (SA), using data from mitochondrial
DNA control region sequences and 6 microsatellite loci. Marked genetic differentiation and low
migration were detected between dolphins of Spencer Gulf and those inhabiting coastal areas west
of the gulf. We hypothesise that the restriction to dolphin gene flow is influenced by an oceanographic
front at the mouth of Spencer Gulf that builds up over the austral summer and exhibits strong
differences in water temperatures and salinity levels. It appears that the genetic subdivision reported
here is a recent phenomenon, a finding consistent with the known geomorphologic history of the
region. Coastal bottlenose dolphins from SA are evolutionarily divergent from other bottlenose
dolphin species and are potentially under threat due to ongoing human-related mortality. The information
from this study can, therefore, be used for the development of much-needed conservation
management strategies.

The pdf file is available electronically at http://www.bio.mq.edu.au/molecularecology/publications.htm 
or can be obtained from kbilgman at gse.mq.edu.au.

Best wishes,

Kerstin Bilgmann

Kerstin Bilgmann
Marine Mammal Research Group
Graduate School of the Environment
Macquarie University, Sydney
NSW 2109, Australia
Email: kbilgman at gse.mq.edu.au
Ph: + 61 2 9850 7982
Fax: + 61 2 9850 7972

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