[MARMAM] New article on harbour porpoise population genetics

Michael Fontaine fontaine at supagro.inra.fr
Thu Jul 26 08:08:06 PDT 2007

Dear Marmammers,

We are delighted to announce you the release of our article on harbour
porpoise population genetics in BMC Biology:

Rise of oceanographic barriers in continuous populations of a cetacean:
the genetic structure of harbour porpoises in Old World waters.
Fontaine MC, Baird SJE, Piry S, Ray N, Tolley KA, Duke S, Birkun AJ,
Ferreira M, Jauniaux T, Llavona À, Öztürk B, Öztürk AA, Ridoux V, Rogan
E, Sequeira M, Siebert U, Vikingsson GA, Bouquegneau J-M & Michaux JR.
BMC Biology (2007) 5, 30.

If you are interested in, you can
download freely the MS at this address:

All the best,



Understanding the role of seascape in shaping genetic and demographic
population structure is highly challenging for marine pelagic species
such as cetaceans for which there is generally little evidence of what
could effectively restrict their dispersal. In the present work, we
applied a combination of recent individual-based landscape genetic
approaches to investigate the population genetic structure of a highly
mobile extensive range cetacean, the harbour porpoise in the eastern
North Atlantic, with regards to oceanographic characteristics that could
constrain its dispersal.

Analyses of 10 microsatellite loci for 752 individuals revealed that
most of the sampled range in the eastern North Atlantic behaves as a
'continuous' population that widely extends over thousands of kilometres
with significant isolation by distance (IBD). However, strong barriers
to gene flow were detected in the south-eastern part of the range. These
barriers coincided with profound changes in environmental
characteristics and isolated, on a relatively small scale, porpoises
from Iberian waters and on a larger scale porpoises from the Black Sea.

The presence of these barriers to gene flow that coincide with profound
changes in oceanographic features, together with the spatial variation
in IBD strength, provide for the first time strong evidence that
physical processes have a major impact on the demographic and genetic
structure of a cetacean. This genetic pattern further suggests
habitat-related fragmentation of the porpoise range that is likely to
intensify with predicted surface ocean warming.

Michael C. Fontaine
PhD Candidate - Aspirant F.R.S.FNRS

MARE Center - Lab. for Oceanology (Univ. of Liege)
B6c Allee de la Chimie, 3
Liege 4000,
e-mail: michael.fontaine at ulg.ac.be
personal webpage: http://users.skynet.be/fb683753/michaelcfontaine/Home.html

Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations - INRA
Campus International de Baillarguet CS 30016,
34988 Montferrier/Lez cedex
Phone : 0033 4 99 62 33 31
Fax: 0033 4 99 62 33 45

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