[MARMAM] New publication of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin conservation

Mingming Liu liuming at idsse.ac.cn
Sun Mar 12 18:37:17 PDT 2023

Hi MARMAM community,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am happy to share our new publication in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, available at the following link: https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3930

Mingming Liu, Mingli Lin, Songhai Li. (2023). Population distribution, connectivity and differentiation of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in Chinese waters: Key baselines for improving conservation management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. (early view)

Abstract: Humpback dolphins (Sousa spp.), throughout their distribution ranges, are often designated as flagship species for coastal ecosystem conservation. Most of the early research on humpback dolphins was carried out in Chinese waters, and in the last two decades, numerous studies have provided abundant conservation-valuable findings. In this study, a systematic review was conducted to gain a comprehensive understanding of the distributional ecology of humpback dolphins in Chinese waters, to establish an updated national knowledge base about key conservation baselines on this flagship species. Currently, there are at least eight main distribution areas of humpback dolphins along the coast of southern China, representing a clear picture of place-based conservation units. However, the overall biogeographical distribution pattern is discontinuous, and existing marine protected areas are far from sufficient to protect these key areas for the survival of humpback dolphins. Based on the photo-identification technique, cross-matching of humpback dolphin individuals revealed extremely low inter-population connectivity among most of the known populations. Genetic studies suggested that several examined populations have low haplotype diversity levels, with limited inter-population gene flow. Morphological and behavioural evidence also supports population differentiation among geographical locations. These findings provide key baselines for the promotion of conservation management initiatives for humpback dolphins in Chinese waters. All recognizable geographical populations, together with each key habitat, should be considered as independent conservation units. With small distribution areas, low genetic diversity and unfavourable geographical isolation, several populations may be at a high risk of regional extinction. A country-led scheme with cross-regional collaboration is required for science-based, action-focused and timely conservation efforts. Future conservation management initiatives should aim to increase or at least maintain key habitats, inter-population connectivity, population-level genetic diversity and effective population size.



Mingming Liu, PhD, Doctoral Research Fellow

Marine Mammal and Marine Bioacoustics Laboratory,
Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IDSSE, CAS)
#28 Luhuitou Road, Sanya, 572000, China
TEL: +86-13976199641   ResearchGate

One World, One Ocean. Let's protect our ocean.
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