[MARMAM] Genetic status of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal

Alexandros A. Karamanlidis akaramanlidis at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 23:36:56 PST 2015

Dear Marmammers,

my co-authors and I are pleased to announce the following publication:

Karamanlidis A.A., Gaughran S., Aguilar A., Dendrinos P., Huber D., Pires
R., Schultz J., Skrbinšek T., Amato G. 2016. Shaping species conservation
strategies using mtDNA analysis: The case of the elusive Mediterranean monk
seal (*Monachus monachus*). Biological Conservation 193: 71-79.

The paper is available at

Abstract is below, pdf requests can be sent to: akaramanlidis at gmail.com

Kind regards

*Αλέξανδρος Καραμανλίδης*

*Βιολόγος **PhD*

*Επιστημονικός Συντονιστής*

*MOm**/Εταιρεία Μελέτης & Προστασίας της Μεσογειακής Φώκιας*

*Alexandros Karamanlidis*

*Biologist PhD*

*Scientific Coordinator*

*MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study & Protection of the Monk Seal*

*www.mom.gr <http://www.mom.gr/>*

*tel: 00302105222888 <00302105222888>, fax: 00302105222450
<00302105222450>, mob: 00306942439175 <00306942439175>*

[image: MOmsimablueDiafano copy]


Halting biodiversity loss is one of the major conservation challenges of
our time and science-based conservation actions are required to safeguard
the survival of endangered species. However the establishment of effective
conservation strategies may be hampered by inherent difficulties of
studying elusive animals. We used analysis of control region sequences to
obtain baseline information on the genetic diversity and population
structure and history of the elusive and critically endangered
Mediterranean monk seal that will help define an effective conservation
strategy for the species. We analyzed 165 samples collected throughout the
entire extant range of the species and identified 5 haplotypes. Based on
levels of genetic diversity (haplotypic diversity: 0.03; variable sites:
0.6%) the Mediterranean monk seal appears to be one of the most genetically
depauperate mammals on Earth. We identified three genetically distinct monk
seal subpopulations: one in the north Atlantic [Cabo Blanco vs. Aegean Sea
(FST=0.733; P=0.000); Cabo Blanco vs. Ionian Sea (FST=0.925; P=0.000)] and
two in theMediterranean, one in the Ionian and another one in the Aegean
Sea (Ionian vs. Aegean Sea FST=0.577; P=0.000). Results indicate a recent
divergence and short evolutionary history of the extant Mediterranean monk
seal subpopulations. Based on the results we recommend continuation of the
monitoring efforts for the species and systematic collection of genetic
samples and storage in dedicated sample banks. On a management level we
argue that, based on genetic evidence, it is justified tomanage the
Atlantic and Mediterranean monk seal subpopulations as two separate
management units. In Greece, the existence of two subpopulations should
guide efforts for the establishment of a network of protected areas and
identify the monitoring of habitat availability and suitability as an
important conservation priority.
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