[MARMAM] New publication on cultural hitchhiking in bottlenose dolphins

Anna Kopps anna.kopps at gmx.com
Wed Mar 19 03:17:03 PDT 2014


Dear Marmamers,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our 
latest article "Cultural transmission of tool use combined with habitat 
specializations leads to fine-scale genetic structure in bottlenose 
dolphins" in Proceedings of the Royal Society, B.

Abstract: Socially learned behaviours leading to genetic population 
structure have rarely been described outside humans. Here, we provide 
evidence of fine-scale genetic structure that has likely arisen based on 
socially transmitted behaviours in bottlenose dolphins (/Tursiops/ sp.) 
in western Shark Bay, Western Australia. We argue that vertical social 
transmission in different habitats has led to significant geographical 
genetic structure of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes. Dolphins with 
mtDNA haplotypes E or F are found predominantly in deep (more than 10 m) 
channel habitat, while dolphins with a third haplotype (H) are found 
predominantly in shallow habitat (less than 10 m), indicating a strong 
haplotype--habitat correlation. Some dolphins in the deep habitat engage 
in a foraging strategy using tools. These 'sponging' dolphins are 
members of one matriline, carrying haplotype E. This pattern is 
consistent with what had been demonstrated previously at another 
research site in Shark Bay, where vertical social transmission of 
sponging had been shown using multiple lines of evidence. Using an 
individual-based model, we found support that in western Shark Bay, 
socially transmitted specializations may have led to the observed 
genetic structure. The reported genetic structure appears to present an 
example of cultural hitchhiking of mtDNA haplotypes on socially 
transmitted foraging strategies, suggesting that, as in humans, genetic 
structure can be shaped through cultural transmission.

The abstract can be viewed here: 
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1782/20133245.abstract

For any questions or requests for the PDF, please email corresponding 
author Dr. Anna Kopps at: anna.kopps at gmx.com <mailto:anna.kopps at gmx.com>.

Best,
Anna

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