[MARMAM] New publication on Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins

Alexander Brown Alex.Brown at murdoch.edu.au
Wed Jul 2 20:35:10 PDT 2014

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of all co-authors, I am pleased to announce publication of the following open access article:

Brown AM, Kopps AM, Allen SJ, Bejder L, Littleford-Colquhoun B, Parra, GJ, Cagnazzi, D, Thiele, D, Palmer, C & Frère, C. (2014) Population Differentiation and Hybridisation of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis) Dolphins in North-Western Australia. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101427. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101427

This collaborative study examines population genetic structure among the two species, and also describes the first reported hybridisation between snubfin and humpback dolphins.

The full text is available here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0101427#s5

A short video of the snubfin x humpback hybrid dolphin can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/99607986

Many thanks,

Alex Brown & Anna Kopps
(co-first authors)


Little is known about the Australian snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins ('snubfin' and 'humpback dolphins', hereafter) of north-western Australia. While both species are listed as 'near threatened' by the IUCN, data deficiencies are impeding rigorous assessment of their conservation status across Australia. Understanding the genetic structure of populations, including levels of gene flow among populations, is important for the assessment of conservation status and the effective management of a species. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, we assessed population genetic diversity and differentiation between snubfin dolphins from Cygnet (n = 32) and Roebuck Bays (n = 25), and humpback dolphins from the Dampier Archipelago (n = 19) and the North West Cape (n = 18). All sampling locations were separated by geographic distances > 200 km. For each species, we found significant genetic differentiation between sampling locations based on 12 (for snubfin dolphins) and 13 (for humpback dolphins) microsatellite loci (FST = 0.05-0.09; P < 0.001) and a 422 bp sequence of the mitochondrial control region (FST = 0.50-0.70; P < 0.001). The estimated proportion of migrants in a population ranged from 0.01 (95% CI 0.00-0.06) to 0.13 (0.03-0.24). These are the first estimates of genetic diversity and differentiation for snubfin and humpback dolphins in Western Australia, providing valuable information towards the assessment of their conservation status in this rapidly developing region. Our results suggest that north-western Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins may exist as metapopulations of small, largely isolated population fragments, and should be managed accordingly. Management plans should seek to maintain effective population size and gene flow. Additionally, while interactions of a socio-sexual nature between these two species have been observed previously, here we provide strong evidence for the first documented case of hybridisation between a female snubfin dolphin and a male humpback dolphin.

Alex Brown
Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU)
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia
* Tel +61 (0)89360 6520 |* Mob +61 (0)487399861| * alex.brown at murdoch.edu.au<mailto:L.bejder at murdoch.edu.au>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/attachments/20140703/bf9d1964/attachment.html>

More information about the MARMAM mailing list