[MARMAM] New Publication on Australian humpback whales

Natalie Schmitt u4476471 at anu.edu.au
Mon Mar 31 20:50:53 PDT 2014

Dear all,

We are happy to announce our recent publication on Australian humpback whale population genetics in Marine Mammal Science:

Low levels of genetic differentiation characterize Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations

Natalie T Schmitt*, Mike Double, Scott Baker, Debbie Steel, Curt Jenner, Michelline Jenner, David Paton, Rosemary Gales, Simon Jarman, Nick Gales, James Marthick, Andrea Polanowski and Rod Peakall

*Corresponding author: natalie.schmitt at alumni.anu.edu.au<mailto:natalie.schmitt at alumni.anu.edu.au>


Humpback whales undertake long-distance seasonal migrations between low latitude winter breeding grounds and high latitude summer feeding grounds. We report the first in-depth population genetic study of the humpback whales that migrate to separate winter breeding grounds along the northwestern and northeastern coasts of Australia, but overlap on summer feeding grounds around Antarctica. Weak but significant differentiation between eastern and western Australia was detected across ten microsatellite loci (FST = 0.005, P = 0.001; DEST = 0.031, P = 0.001, n = 364) and mitochondrial control region sequences (FST = 0.017 and ?ST = 0.069, P = 0.001, n = 364). Bayesian clustering analyses using microsatellite data could not resolve any population structure unless sampling location was provided as a prior. This study supports the emerging evidence that weak genetic differentiation is characteristic among neighboring Southern Hemisphere humpback whale breeding populations. This may be a consequence of relatively high gene flow facilitated by overlapping summer feeding areas in Antarctic waters.

Key words: mtDNA, microsatellites, population genetic structure, conservation, management, Megaptera novaeangliae.


Schmitt, N.T., Double, M.C., Baker, C.S., Steel, D., Jenner, K.C.S., Jenner, M.-N.M., Paton, D., Gales, R., Jarman, S.N., Gales, N., Marthick, J.R., Polanowski, A.M. and Peakall, R. (2014) Low levels of genetic differentiation characterize Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations. Marine Mammal Science  30:221-241.

The PDF of this document can be downloaded from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mms.12045/abstract, or by emailing the corresponding author.

Best Wishes


Dr. Natalie T. Schmitt

natalie.schmitt at alumni.anu.edu.au<mailto:natalie.schmitt at alumni.anu.edu.au>

ph. +61419032277

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