[MARMAM] New publication on bottlenose dolphin population genetics

Simon Allen simon.allen at uwa.edu.au
Mon May 23 18:46:38 PDT 2016

G’day folks,

We are very pleased to announce the publication (early view online) of the following paper in Molecular Ecology: Genetic isolation between coastal and fishery-impacted, offshore bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) populations.

The abstract is as follows: The identification of species and population boundaries is important in both evolutionary and conservation biology. In recent years, new population genetic and computational methods for estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses in a quantitative manner have emerged. Using a Bayesian framework and a quantitative model-testing approach, we evaluated the species status and genetic connectedness of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops spp.) populations off remote northwestern Australia, with a focus on pelagic ‘offshore’ dolphins subject to incidental capture in a trawl fishery. We analysed 71 dolphin samples from three sites beyond the 50 m depth contour (the inshore boundary of the fishery) and up to 170 km offshore, including incidentally caught and free-ranging individuals associating with trawl vessels, and 273 dolphins sampled at 12 coastal sites inshore of the 50 m depth contour and within 10 km of the coast. Results from 19 nuclear microsatellite markers showed significant population structure between dolphins from within the fishery and coastal sites, but also among dolphins from coastal sites, identifying three coastal populations. Moreover, we found no current or historic gene flow into the offshore population in the region of the fishery, indicating a complete lack of recruitment from coastal sites. Mitochondrial DNA corroborated our findings of genetic isolation between dolphins from the offshore population and coastal sites. Most offshore individuals formed a monophyletic clade with common bottlenose dolphins (T. truncatus), while all 273 individuals sampled coastally formed a well-supported clade of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (T. aduncus). By including a quantitative modelling approach, our study explicitly took evolutionary processes into account for informing the conservation and management of protected species. As such, it may serve as a template for other, similarly inaccessible study populations.

The full citation is Allen SJ, Bryant KA, Kraus RHS, Loneragan NR, Kopps AM, Brown AM, Gerber L, Krützen (2016). Genetic isolation between coastal and fishery-impacted, offshore bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops spp.) populations. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/mec.13622, and you can access the paper at the URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13622/full. Otherwise, drop Michael (michael.kruetzen at aim.uzh.ch<mailto:michael.kruetzen at aim.uzh.ch>) or me a line for a PDF.

All the best, Simon (on behalf of all co-authors).

Simon Allen, PhD
Centre for Marine Futures
School of Animal Biology | Oceans Institute
University of Western Australia
Crawley WA 6009

Mob: (61-0) 416 083 653
Email: simon.allen at uwa.edu.au<applewebdata://006C211F-965E-4B11-879F-544A520C4A7B/s.allen@murdoch.edu.au>
Web1: http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org<http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org/>
Web2: http://www.meeuwig.org/current-members/simon-allen/


Recent papers:
Abundance of dolphins: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2016.00004/
Bycatch in fisheries: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0093178
Population structure: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13622/full
Tool use in dolphins: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1784/20140374
Whale watching management: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/3kKaKmus6dBgUj28dfG4/full

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