[MARMAM] New paper: population structure of short-finned pilot whales

Filipe Alves filipealves at museudabaleia.org
Wed Apr 3 09:02:41 PDT 2013

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper about 
the ecology of short-finned pilot whales:

F Alves, S Quérouil, A Dinis, C Nicolau, C Ribeiro, L Freitas, M 
Kaufmann, C Fortuna (2013) Population structure of short-finned pilot 
whales in the oceanic archipelago of Madeira based on 
photo-identification and genetic analyses: implications for 
conservation. /Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems/ 
doi: 10.1002/aqc.2332

ABSTRACT: Pilot whales /Globicephala/ spp. are known to display a 
hierarchical social pattern, but longitudinal data to
infer population structure of short-finned pilot whales /Globicephala 
macrorhynchus/ are rare. Using data collected between 2003-2011 in the 
oceanic archipelago of Madeira, the grouping structure of
short-finned pilot whales was studied using photo-identification methods 
and mtDNA sequences and microsatellite markers to test the hypotheses 
that (1) there is at least one pelagic and one or more island-associated
communities, and (2) groups are made of related individuals, with a 
matrilineal social structure. Pilot whales demonstrated a large degree 
of variability in site fidelity, including residents (up to 14-year 
regular visitors and transients. The social and temporal analyses 
revealed a well-differentiated society with long-lasting relationships 
(of years). The genetic analyses suggested that individuals of the three 
residency patterns may not be genetically isolated, and that small 
groups are made up of related individuals, suggesting some degree of 
social philopatry, while large groups are probably temporary 
associations of smaller groups.
It is proposed that the pilot whales encountered inMadeira belong to a 
single population encompassing several clans, possibly three clans of 
island-associated whales and others of transients, each containing two 
to three matrilineal pods, each with a mean of 15 individuals (SD=9, 
range: 4-29). We suggest that the clans interact formating purposes when 
they meet.
For management decisions, it is considered that the island-associated 
whales should not be regarded as demographically independent 
populations, but instead as stable social entities to be included in 
management plans and requiring periodic evaluation of their status. The 
high proportion of marked individuals and low rate of mark change 
encourages further research in this species.

Please download from 
or contact Filipe Alves on _filipealves at museudabaleia.org 
<mailto:cgb at smru.co.uk>_
Best regard,
Filipe Alves

Filipe Alves

Biólogo Marinho

Museu da Baleia da Madeira - Madeira Whale Museum
Rua da Pedra D'Eira
9200-031 Caniçal, Madeira
Tel.: +351 291 961 858/9 (ext. 214)
Fax: +351 291 961 861


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