Harbor porpoise losing its edges: Genetic time series suggests a rapid population decline in Iberian waters over the last 30 years

Yacine Ben Chehida, Tjibbe Stelwagen, Jeroen Hoekendijk, Marisa Ferreira, Catarina Eira, Andreia Pereira, Lidia Nicolau, Julie Thumloup, Michael Fontaine

Onderzoeksoutput: ArticleAcademic

Samenvatting

Impact of climate changes on species is expected to be especially visible at the extremities of the species distribution, where they meet sub-optimal conditions. In Mauritania and Iberia, two genetically isolated populations of harbor porpoises form a distinct ecotype and are presumably locally adapted to the upwelling waters. By analyzing the evolution of mitochondrial genetic variation in the Iberian population between two temporal cohorts (1990-2002 vs. 2012-2015), we report a dramatic decrease in genetic diversity. Phylogenetic analyses including neighboring populations identified two porpoises in southern Iberia carrying a divergent haplotype close to the Mauritanian population, yet forming a distinctive lineage. This suggests that Iberian porpoises may not be as isolated as previously thought with immigration from Mauritania or an unknown population in between, but none from the northern ecotype. The rapid decline in the Iberian mitochondrial diversity may be driven by either genetic drift, or by a dramatic decline in census population size possibly resulting from environmental stochasticity, prey depletion, or acute fishery bycatches. These results illustrate the value of genetics time series to inform demographic trends and emphasize the urgent need for conservation measures to ensure the viability of this small harbor porpoise population in Iberia.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's24
TijdschriftbioRxiv
DOI's
StatusIn preparation - 2021

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