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Population genetics of Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus), Fraser’s dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) in the North Pacific Ocean

CHEN, ING (2016) Population genetics of Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus), Fraser’s dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) in the North Pacific Ocean. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Cetaceans are highly mobile mammals, but many species still exhibit degrees of population structure while inhabiting seemingly boundary-free open waters. Resource specialisation is hypothesized as one of the main drivers of population structure. Using multiple diploid and haploid genetic markers, this study reveals, for the first time, the population genetic structure of Risso’s dolphins, Fraser’s dolphins and common bottlenose dolphins in the tropical-temperate regions of the western North Pacific Ocean. For the Risso’s dolphins, the results showed that there are at least three populations in the North Pacific Ocean, by-and-large parallel to the existing biogeographic provinces; and the direction of gene flow corresponds with the direction of the mainstream currents. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data showed that the Pacific populations are genetically different from the three populations in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. For the Fraser’s dolphins, the genetic differentiation between Japanese and Philippine waters is consistent with the differentiation suggested in an earlier skull morphometric study. For the common bottlenose dolphins, the results suggested that there are at least four populations in the western and central North Pacific Ocean, and the differentiation appears to correspond to habitat types, resembling the scenario of inshore-offshore differentiation seen in other populations of the same species in other regions. The analysis also confirmed that there is no evident gene flow between the two “sister species”, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus), occurring sympatrically in the region. The mtDNA data suggested that the Risso’s and Fraser’s dolphin populations in the western North Pacific experienced an episode of expansion in the last 10,000 years. Genetic diversity is high in most of the population examined in this study; however, a relatively low effective population size is found in some populations and that may require further conservation attention.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Molecular Ecology; Population Structure; Genetic Diversity; Cetaceans; Grampus griseus; Lagenodelphis hosei; Tursiops truncatus; Tursiops aduncus; Microsatellite; mitochondrial DNA; Japan; Taiwan; Philippines; North Pacific
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 May 2016 11:51

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