[MARMAM] Symposium 27th November: Genetic monitoring of marine mammals, Tampa Convention Center

Jennifer Jackson jacksonjennifera at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 14:15:23 PST 2011

Dear all,

A one day symposium on the genetic monitoring of marine mammals will
be held at the Tampa Convention Center on Sunday prior to the marine
mammal Biennial. We have a great range of speakers and look forward to
a lively panel debate at the end of it.

Please contact me: jacksonjennifera at gmail.com if you wish to register
for this meeting. The cost is $30. For those who are interested, some
more detail on the genetic monitoring concept is included at the
bottom of this email.

Hopefully see you in Tampa!



9 am Keynote: Dr Mike Schwartz  (head of Wildlife Ecology Research
Unit at the USDA Forest Service, also University of Montana) - Genetic
monitoring of terrestrial and marine vertebrates: successes and
failures of the molecular genetic approach to cost-effective

9:40 am Dr Diana Weber (New College of Florida, USA) Marching through
time: The importance of looking back as we look forward in our efforts
to develop genetic monitoring in marine mammals


10:40 am Dr Andy Foote (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) - The use
of ancient and environmental DNA as a tool for genetic monitoring of
marine mammals.

11 am Mia Valtonen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland) Genetic
monitoring of a small and isolated seal population

11:20 am Dr Joe Hoffman (University of Bielefeld, Germany) Unravelling
pinniped life histories through long term genetic monitoring

11:40 am Rebecca Hamner (Oregon State University) Demographic, genetic
and serendipitous findings from the genetic monitoring of the
critically endangered Maui's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hector maui)


2 pm Dr Karina Acevedo Whitehouse (Center for Basic and Applied
Microbiology, Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, and
Institute of Zoology, London) Goo, germs and genes: non-invasive
sampling to monitor cetacean populations

2:20 pm Dr Frank Cipriano (San Francisco State University) - Market
surveys and genetic monitoring of the whale meat trade

2:40 pm Dr Jennifer Jackson (British Antarctic Survey) – Wrap up and
introduction to panel discussion


3:40 pm Panel discussion: Dr Mike Schwartz, Dr Phil Morin (Southwest
Fisheries Science Center), Dr Frank Cipriano, Dr Karina Acevedo

Genetic monitoring of Marine Mammal Populations

Genetic monitoring is the practice of using molecular genetic markers
to track changes in the abundance, diversity or distribution of
populations, species or ecosystems over time,and to follow adaptive
genetic changes in response to changing external conditions. In recent
years genetic monitoring has become a valuable tool in conservation
management, biodiversity monitoring and ecological analysis. Genetic
monitoring is used to illuminate and define cryptic and poorly
understood species and populations, to detect adaptive change and to
inform management policy as a result of detected declines, changes in
population structure, distribution and hybridization events through
time. It can also provide valuable baseline information to evaluate
population responses to future global environmental changes, such as
global warming. 

Genetic monitoring projects require a time series of
archived genetic data, either in the form of specimen tissue,
extracted DNA, or records of previously obtained genetic information.
Genetic monitoring approaches are particularly useful for marine
mammals as many species (i) are rarely encountered (so traditional
records are patchy) (ii) cannot be individually identified without the
use of genetics (so survival rates cannot be estimated) (iii) are
endangered or threatened under IUCN, or (iv) are subject to regular
population assessment through IWC, NAMMCO or CCAMLR auspices. There is
currently a strong need for routine population monitoring of many
species, and for obtaining a better understanding of population
processes in others.

We will discuss the following topics:

A) The use of genetic markers as identifiers of individuals,
populations and species for traditional population monitoring
* Survival and abundance trends. At the individual level,
genetic identification can enable estimation of population abundance
and vital rates within the framework of mark-recapture models. Genetic
monitoring approaches have now been used to investigate population
demographic processes for a number of marine mammal
Identification of parasites or pathogens. Monitoring of cetacean
health through sampling and genetic analysis of cetacean blow.
Identification of species. Indirect monitoring of marine mammal
species in markets as a means of evaluating adherence to quotas and
the extent of cetacean by-catch. * Identification of hybrids.
Inter-species hybridization events have recently been detected for a
number of Arctic marine mammals, and this could become an increasing
problem as sea ice is lost and formerly isolated populations make

B) The use of genetic markers to monitor changes in population genetic
parameters, e.g., genetic variation and population structure, gene
flow, and effective population size
* Changes in range and diversity
through time, e.g. by using historical or ancient
specimens obtained
from museums or from the field.
* Changes in population structuring
through time.

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