[MARMAM] New publication: genomics of Mediterranean sperm whale and adjacent Atlantic areas

BIAGIO VIOLI violi.biagio at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 03:26:22 PST 2023

Dear all

My co-authors and I are excited to share our new publication in
Molecular Ecology, where we assessed sperm whale population structure
within the Mediterranean Sea and between the Mediterranean and
adjacent Atlantic areas using ddRAD sequencing.

The paper is available open-access at https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16898

All the best,

Biagio Violi

violi.biagio at gmail.com

*Title*: Genomics reveals the role of admixture in the evolution of
structure among sperm whale populations within the Mediterranean Sea

*Authors*: Biagio Violi, Menno J. de Jong, Alexandros Frantzis,
Paraskevi Alexiadou, Céline Tardy, Denis Ody, Renaud de Stephanis,
Joan Giménez, Giuseppe Lucifora, Mónica A. e Silva, Cláudia Oliveira,
Filipe Alves, Ana Dinis, Marisa Tejedor, Antonio Fernández, Marina
Arregui, Manuel Arbelo, Alfredo Lopez, Pablo Covelo, A. Rus Hoelzel

*Abstract*: In oceanic ecosystems, the nature of barriers to gene
flow, and the processes by which populations may become isolated are
different from the terrestrial environment, and less well understood.
In this study we investigate a highly mobile species (the sperm whale,
*Physeter macrocephalus*) that is genetically differentiated between
an open North Atlantic population and the populations in the
Mediterranean Sea. We apply high resolution single nucleotide
polymorphism (SNP) analysis to study the nature of barriers to gene
flow in this system, assessing the putative boundary into the
Mediterranean (Strait of Gibraltar and Alboran Sea region), and
including novel analyses on structuring among sperm whale populations
within the Mediterranean basin. Our data support a recent founding of
the Mediterranean, around the time of the last glacial maximum, and
show concerted historical demographic profiles in both the Atlantic
and in the Mediterranean. In each region there is evidence for a
population decline around the time of the founder event. The largest
decline was seen within the Mediterranean Sea where effective
population size is substantially lower (especially in the eastern
basin). While differentiation is strongest at the
Atlantic/Mediterranean boundary, there is also weaker but significant
differentiation between the eastern and western basins of the
Mediterranean Sea. We propose, however, that the mechanisms are
different. While post-founding gene flow was reduced between the
Mediterranean and Atlantic populations, within the Mediterranean an
important factor differentiating the basins is likely a greater degree
of admixture between the western basin and the North Atlantic and some
level of isolation between the western and eastern Mediterranean
basins. Subdivision within the Mediterranean Sea exacerbates
conservation concerns and will require consideration of what distinct
impacts may affect populations in the two basins.


*Biagio Violi, PhD *
Researcher of Menkab il respiro del mare Association
E-mail: violi.biagio at gmail.com
Mobile: +39 340 5869904 <+39%20340%20586%209904>
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