Long-term isolation at a low effective population size greatly reduced genetic diversity in Gulf of California fin whales

Vania E Rivera-León, Jorge Urbán, Sally Mizroch, Robert L Brownell, Tom Oosting, Wensi Hao, Per J Palsbøll, Martine Bérubé

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Abstract

The Gulf of California, Mexico is home to many cetacean species, including a presumed resident population of fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus. Past studies reported very low levels of genetic diversity among Gulf of California fin whales and a significant level of genetic differentiation from con-specifics in the eastern North Pacific. The aim of the present study was to assess the degree and timing of the isolation of Gulf of California fin whales in a population genetic analysis of 18 nuclear microsatellite genotypes from 402 samples and 565 mitochondrial control region DNA sequences (including mitochondrial sequences retrieved from NCBI). The analyses revealed that the Gulf of California fin whale population was founded ~2.3 thousand years ago and has since remained at a low effective population size (~360) and isolated from the eastern North Pacific (Nem between 0.89-1.4). The low effective population size and high degree of isolation implied that Gulf of California fin whales are vulnerable to the negative effects of genetic drift, human-caused mortality and habitat change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12391
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27-Aug-2019

Keywords

  • MITOCHONDRIAL CONTROL REGION
  • PER-GENERATION RULE
  • DNA CONTROL REGION
  • CANAL-DE-BALLENAS
  • BALAENOPTERA-PHYSALUS
  • NORTH-ATLANTIC
  • MEDITERRANEAN SEA
  • MICROSATELLITE LOCI
  • MONODON-MONOCEROS
  • MIGRATION RATES

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