[MARMAM] New publication available. Kin relationships in cultural species of the marine realm: case study of a matrilineal social group of sperm whales off Mauritius island, Indian Ocean

Jean-Luc Jung jean-luc.jung at mnhn.fr
Mon Feb 15 05:42:06 PST 2021


Dear Marmamers,

We are pleased to share our new article, open access at 
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.201794


Kin relationships in cultural species of the marine realm: case study of 
a matrilineal social group of sperm whales off Mauritius island, Indian 
Ocean
By Francois Sarano, Justine Girardet, Véronique Sarano, Hugues Vitry, 
Axel Preud'homme, René Heuzey, Ana M. Garcia-Cegarra, Bénédicte Madon, 
Fabienne Delfour, Hervé Glotin, Olivier Adam  and Jean-Luc Jung

Abstract. Understanding the organization and dynamics of social groups 
of marine mammals through the study of kin relationships is particularly 
challenging*.*Here, we studied a stable social group of sperm whales off 
Mauritius, using underwater observations, individual-specific 
identification, non-invasive sampling and genetic analyses based on 
mitochondrial sequencing and microsatellite profiling. Twenty-four sperm 
whales were sampled between 2017 and 2019. All individuals except one 
adult female shared the same mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotype—one 
that is rare in the western Indian Ocean—thus confirming with near 
certainty the matrilineality of the group. All probable first- and 
second-degree kin relationships were depicted in the sperm whale social 
group: 13 first-degree and 27 second-degree relationships were 
identified. Notably, we highlight the likely case of an unrelated female 
having been integrated into a social unit, in that she presented a 
distinct mtDNA haplotype and no close relationships with any members of 
the group. Investigating the possible matrilineality of sperm whale 
cultural units (i.e. vocal clans) is the next step in our research 
programme to elucidate and better apprehend the complex organization of 
sperm whale social groups.



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*Jean-Luc Jung*
Maitre de Conférences
Université de Brest, UFR Sciences et Techniques http://www.univ-brest.fr
6 avenue le Gorgeu, 29200 Brest, France
Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité UMR7205 (ISYEB)
Equipe Homologies http://isyeb.mnhn.fr/fr/homologies-419
Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
Station Marine de Concarneau http://concarneau.mnhn.fr

E-mail : Jean-Luc.Jung at univ-brest.fr
http://www.univ-brest.fr/menu/recherche-innovation/pages-chercheurs/JUNG-Jean-luc 

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