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Toxicant exposure, population genetics, and trophic associations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the Swan River

Finn, H., Palmer, C. and Bejder, L. (2009) Toxicant exposure, population genetics, and trophic associations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the Swan River. In: Swan River Trust’s Swan Canning Research and Innovation Program, 19th August, Perth, Western Australia.

Abstract

As icons of the Swan River, bottlenose dolphins are an important factor for environmental management focus. A previous Murdoch University study identified a resident community of ~25 dolphins in the Swan River.

Using a remote biopsy sampling system we have collected small (0.5 cm2) skin and blubber samples from 14 individuals. These samples will undergo analyses for contaminants, genetics and stable isotopes. The contaminant analysis profile includes organochlorine residues, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyl congers, tributyltin and methylmercury. The contaminant results will provide a baseline data set for future monitoring. Mitochondrial DNA analysis will be used to ascertain the genetic variability within the resident community.

The genetic variability is hypothesised to be low, based on previous research, which found that the resident dolphins show long-term site fidelity for the river and immigration is thought to be limited. Stable isotope analyses will help to identify the trophic pathways used by dolphins and their relative importance. Preliminary results will be presented during the showcase.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/15182
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