[MARMAM] New Paper: Genomewide investigation of adaptation to harmful algal blooms in bottlenose dolphins

Kristina Cammen kristina.cammen at maine.edu
Mon Sep 7 11:45:31 PDT 2015

My co-authors and I would like to share the news that several papers
resulting from our investigation of the influence of genetic variation on
susceptibility of bottlenose dolphins to harmful algal blooms have been
published over the past year.  Our most recent publication, “Genomewide
investigation of adaptation to harmful algal blooms in bottlenose
dolphins (Tursiops
truncatus),” is now available as Early View online in the journal Molecular

Cammen, K. M., Schultz, T. F., Rosel, P. E., Wells, R. S. and Read, A. J.
(2015), Genomewide investigation of adaptation to harmful algal blooms in
common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Molecular Ecology. doi:

Abstract. Harmful algal blooms (HABs), which can be lethal in marine
species and cause illness in humans, are increasing worldwide. In the Gulf
of Mexico, HABs of *Karenia brevis* produce neurotoxic brevetoxins that
cause large-scale marine mortality events. The long history of such blooms,
combined with the potentially severe effects of exposure, may have produced
a strong selective pressure for evolved resistance. Advances in
next-generation sequencing, in particular genotyping-by-sequencing, greatly
enable the genomic study of such adaptation in natural populations. We used
restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing to investigate
brevetoxicosis resistance in common bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops
truncatus*). To improve our understanding of the epidemiology and aetiology
of brevetoxicosis and the potential for evolved resistance in an upper
trophic level predator, we sequenced pools of genomic DNA from dolphins
sampled from both coastal and estuarine populations in Florida and during
multiple HAB-associated mortality events. We sequenced 129 594 RAD loci and
analysed 7431 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The allele
frequencies of many of these polymorphic loci differed significantly
between live and dead dolphins. Some loci associated with survival showed
patterns suggesting a common genetic-based mechanism of resistance to
brevetoxins in bottlenose dolphins along the Gulf coast of Florida, but
others suggested regionally specific mechanisms of resistance or reflected
differences among HABs. We identified candidate genes that may be the
evolutionary target for brevetoxin resistance by searching the dolphin
genome for genes adjacent to survival-associated SNPs.

Other related papers include:

Cammen KM, Wilcox LA, Rosel PE, Wells RS, Read AJ (2015) From genome-wide
to candidate gene: An investigation of variation at the major
histocompatibility complex in bottlenose dolphins exposed to red tides.
Immunogenetics 67:125-133.

Cammen KM, Rosel PE, Wells RS, Read AJ (2014) Lack of variation in
voltage-gated sodium channels of common bottlenose dolphins exposed to
neurotoxic algal blooms. Aquatic Toxicology 157:150-158.

All PDFs are available from the respective journals’ websites.  Alternatively,
pdf requests can be sent to kristina.cammen at maine.edu.

Kristina Cammen
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine, Orono
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