[MARMAM] New paper describing North Pacific fin whale subspecies

Eric Archer - NOAA Federal eric.archer at noaa.gov
Wed Aug 28 10:32:12 PDT 2019

On behalf of my coauthors, I'm pleased to announce the publication of our
paper in the *Journal of Mammalogy, *entitled,

*Revision of fin whale Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758) subspecies
using genetics*

Frederick I Archer, Robert L Brownell, Brittany L Hancock-Hanser, Phillip A
Morin, Kelly M Robertson, Kathryn K Sherman, John Calambokidis, Jorge Urbán
R, Patricia E Rosel, Sally A Mizroch, Simone Panigada, Barbara L Taylor



Three subspecies of fin whales (*Balaenoptera physalus*) are currently
recognized, including the northern fin whale (*B. p. physalus*), the
southern fin whale (*B. p. quoyi*), and the pygmy fin whale (*B. p.
patachonic*a). The Northern Hemisphere subspecies encompasses fin whales in
both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. A recent analysis of 154
mitogenome sequences of fin whales from these two ocean basins and the
Southern Hemisphere suggested that the North Pacific and North Atlantic
populations should be treated as different subspecies. Using these
mitogenome sequences, in this study, we conduct analyses on a larger mtDNA
control region data set, and on 23 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
from 144 of the 154 samples in the mitogenome data set. Our results reveal
that North Pacific and North Atlantic fin whales can be correctly assigned
to their ocean basin with 99% accuracy. Results of the SNP analysis
indicate a correct classification rate of 95%, very low rates of gene flow
among ocean basins, and that distinct mitogenome matrilines in the North
Pacific are interbreeding. These results indicate that North Pacific fin
whales should be recognized as a separate subspecies, with the name *B. p.
velifera* Cope in Scammon 1869 as the oldest available name.


*Eric Archer, Ph.D.*

Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NMFS/NOAA)
8901 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037 USA
858-546-7121 (work)
858-546-7003 (FAX)

Marine Mammal Genetics Group: swfsc.noaa.gov/mmtd-mmgenetics
GitHub: github.com/ericarcher

Adjunct Professor, Marine Biology
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego


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