[MARMAM] New publication: Natal fidelity to social groups and mating within and between social groups in an endangered false killer whale population

Karen Martien - NOAA Federal karen.martien at noaa.gov
Mon Dec 2 16:44:19 PST 2019

Dear Colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our article
in Endangered Species Research:

Martien, K.K., B.L. Taylor, S.J. Chivers, S.D. Mahaffy, A.M. Gorgone, R.W.
Baird.  2019.  Natal fidelity to social groups and mating within and
between social groups in an endangered false killer whale population.
Species Research*. 40:219-230.

ABSTRACT: Most mammals exhibit natal dispersal of one or both sexes, a
behavior that likely evolved in part to reduce the chances of breeding with
close relatives. When natal social group fidelity of both sexes has been
documented, the risk of inbreeding is reduced by breeding among rather than
within social groups. We investigated mating patterns in an endangered
population of false killer whales *Pseudorca crassidens* from the main
Hawaiian Islands (USA) using both genetic and photo-identification data. We
tested the presence of the 2 most commonly observed inbreeding avoidance
behaviors, i.e. natal dispersal and exogamy (mating occurring primarily
among individuals from different social groups). Because not all
mother−offspring pairs or individual ages were known prior to this study,
we used re-sighting histories to determine plausible ranges of birth year
for individuals, thereby limiting the pool of candidate parents and
increasing analytical power. We identified 32 parent−offspring pairs,
revealing strong natal social group fidelity for both sexes. Our results
indicate that between 36 and 64% of matings involved individuals from the
same social group. Because the population declined from over 400 to around
150 individuals between the 1980s and early 2000s, the intra-group matings
may be the result of reduced opportunities for inter-group mating since the
decline. Prior to the decline, social groups may have been sufficiently
large that selective pressure to develop inbreeding avoidance mechanisms
was low, or the population may have evolved alternate inbreeding avoidance
mechanisms such as kin recognition.

The paper is freely available through open access at

Please contact me if you have any questions - Karen.Martien at noaa.gov

Cheers, Karen
Karen K. Martien, Ph.D.
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
8901 La Jolla Shores Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
Phone: 858-546-7058
Fax: 858-546-7003
Karen.Martien at noaa.gov
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