[MARMAM] New Publication: Population genetics of Tursiops australis (Burrunan dolphin) in south-eastern Australia

Kate Charlton-Robb kcr at ammcf.org.au
Wed Oct 1 20:02:06 PDT 2014

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the recent publication in Conservation 
Genetics, describing the genetic population structure of /Tursiops 
australis/ in south-eastern Australia.

Charlton-Robb, K., Taylor, A.C., McKechnie, S.W. (2014) Population 
genetic structure of the Burrunan dolphin (/Tursiops australis/) in 
coastal waters of south-eastern Australia: conservation implications. 
Conservation Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10592-014-0652-6


The Burrunan dolphin, /Tursiops australis/, is a newly described species 
endemic to southern Australian coastal waters. The current distribution 
ranges from South Australia, east to Victoria and south to Tasmania. In 
the eastern region of their range, only two known resident populations 
of /T. australis/ occur, Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes. 
Little else is known about the population status and migration patterns 
of the species. Here we examine population genetics of /T. australis/ 
using ten microsatellite loci and two sequences of mitochondrial DNA, 
the control region (~450 bp) and cytochrome b (~1,200 bp). A total of 
163 /T. australis/ samples were collected from various locations across 
the Victorian and Tasmanian coastlines. Genetic data showed the highest 
differentiation between the Port Phillip Bay and both Gippsland Lakes 
and Tasmanian samples. Network analysis, using concatenated mtDNA 
sequences, showed geographic segregation and Bayesian analysis, using 
microsatellite data, also supported the presence of two genetic 
clusters. Both microsatellite and mtDNA data indicated low genetic 
diversity when compared to levels reported for other dolphins. Maternal 
philopatry was suggested for Port Phillip Bay in particular. Our data 
suggest that /T. australis/ from coastal waters of south-eastern 
Australia consists of two populations with little or no contemporary 
gene flow; one occurs in Port Phillip Bay; the second extends from the 
east coast of Tasmania across Bass Strait to Gippsland Lakes. /Tursiops 
australis/ appears to be characterised by small, localised, genetically 
distinct populations and should thus be further assessed under local, 
national and international threatened species criteria.

The publication is available “Online First” via 

Kind Regards,

Kate Charlton-Robb

Dr Kate-Charlton-Robb
Principal Researcher
Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation
PO Box 2046
Hampton East VIC 3188
e: kcr at ammcf.org.au
m: 0416227575
w: ammcf.org.au

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