Mitochondrial genetic diversity and population structuring of UK bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus): is the NE Scotland Population demographically and geographically isolated?

K. M. Parsons, Leslie Robert Noble, R. J. Reid, Paul Michael Thompson

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38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Concern has been expressed over the status of the bottlenose dolphin population that uses the Moray Firth and adjacent waters in NE Scotland. Consequently, part of this population's range has been proposed as a Special Area of Conservation. Efforts to manage and monitor the status of this population require information on the level of genetic diversity within the population and its genetic relatedness to neighbouring populations to appropriately designate units for management and monitoring. Here we examine mitochondrial genetic diversity within the NE Scotland population, and compare this to other regions around the UK and Ireland. Sequence analysis of 549bp of the mitochondrial DNA control region identified eight unique haplotypes in a sample of 29 individuals. Analysis of molecular variance suggests that the Moray Firth population is genetically more closely related to Welsh animals than to its nearest neighbour population in west Scotland. Furthermore, measures of within-population genetic diversity were markedly lower in the Moray Firth than any other sampled region. The low levels of mtDNA genetic variability observed and its apparent geographic isolation provide further support for the precautionary approach currently being applied to the management of this population, despite the lack of direct evidence of harm. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • cetacean
  • genetic diversity
  • Tursiops truncatus
  • mtDNA
  • conservation
  • NOSED-DOLPHIN
  • PHOCOENA-PHOCOENA
  • DNA POLYMORPHISM
  • HECTORS DOLPHIN
  • DIFFERENTIATION
  • CONSERVATION
  • WATERS
  • EVOLUTION
  • SEQUENCES
  • PATTERNS

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