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Genetic connectivity in common dolphins: Is eastern Australia an oceanic highway for these highly mobile marine vertebrates?

Möller, L., Pedoni, F., Allen, S., Bilgmann, K., Corrigan, S. and Beheregaray, L. (2009) Genetic connectivity in common dolphins: Is eastern Australia an oceanic highway for these highly mobile marine vertebrates? In: AMSA2009 46th Annual Conference for the Australian Marine Sciences Conference, 5 - 9 July, Adelaide, Australia.

Abstract

The potential for long range dispersal of highly mobile marine vertebrates is expected to promote high gene flow and reduce intra-specific differentiation at sea. In offshore dolphins, genetic studies have generally reported population connectivity spanning thousands of kilometers. Here we show a complex pattern of gene flow and diversity in common dolphins inhabiting waters over the continental shelf of southeastern Australia. Biopsy samples of 112 individuals were obtained from groups of common dolphins in seven areas of NSW and samples were sequenced for a fragment of the mtDNA and genotyped at seven highly resolving nuclear markers. Results indicate three as the most likely number of populations in the region (Northern, Central and Southern NSW), with low to moderate levels of gene flow between them. However, analysis of recent migration rates suggests that one Central area contributes disproportionably as a source of migrants. In addition, contrasting levels of genetic diversity were found between populations, with Southern NSW showing a very large number of maternal lineages compared to the other two populations. We discuss oceanographic features and biogeography history potentially driving these patterns in eastern Australian common dolphins.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Notes: Oral presentation
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14375
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