[MARMAM] New publication on genetic and demographic history of Mediterranean monk seals

Alexandros A. Karamanlidis akaramanlidis at gmail.com
Mon Jan 11 04:16:21 PST 2021

Dear MARMAM Readers,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our recent
article in Scientific Reports

Karamanlidis, A. A., T. Skrbinšek, G. Amato, P. Dendrinos, S. Gaughran, P.
Kasapidis, A. Kopatz and A. V. Stronen (2021). "Genetic and demographic
history define a conservation strategy for Earth’s most endangered
Pinniped, the Mediterranean monk seal *Monachus monachus*." Scientific
Reports. 11:373. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79712-1

ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean monk seal *(Monachus monachus) *is a flagship
species for marine conservation, but important aspects of its life history
remain unknown. Concerns over imminent extinction motivated a nuclear DNA
study of the species in its largest continuous subpopulation in the eastern
Mediterranean Sea. Despite recent evidence of partial subpopulation
recovery, we demonstrate that there is no reason for complacency, as the
species still shares several traits that are characteristic of a critically
endangered species: Mediterranean monk seals in the eastern Mediterranean
survive in three isolated and genetically depauperate population clusters,
with small effective population sizes and high levels of inbreeding. Our
results indicated male philopatry over short distances, which is unexpected
for a polygynous mammal. Such a pattern may be explained by the species’
unique breeding behavior, in which males defend aquatic territories near
breeding sites, while females are often forced to search for new pupping
areas. Immediate action is necessary to reverse the downward spiral of
population decline, inbreeding accumulation and loss of genetic diversity.
We propose concrete conservation measures for the Mediterranean monk seal
focusing on reducing anthropogenic threats, increasing the population size
and genetic diversity, and thus improving the long-term prospects of

The article can be accessed via the link: https://rdcu.be/cdnqj

Do not hesitate to contact me (akaramanlidis at gmail.com) if you have any
comments or questions.

Kind regards,

Alexandros A. Karamanlidis, PhD

Scientific Coordinator

MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk seal
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