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Cultural traditions across a migratory network shape the genetic structure of southern right whales around Australia and New Zealand


Carroll, EL and Baker, C and Watson, M and Alderman, R and Bannister, J and Gaggiotti, OE and Grocke, DR and Patenaude, N and Harcourt, R, Cultural traditions across a migratory network shape the genetic structure of southern right whales around Australia and New Zealand, Scientific Reports, 5 Article 16182. ISSN 2045-2322 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/srep16182


Fidelity to migratory destinations is an important driver of connectivity in marine and avian species. Here we assess the role of maternally directed learning of migratory habitats, or migratory culture, on the population structure of the endangered Australian and New Zealand southern right whale. Using DNA profiles, comprising mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes (500 bp), microsatellite genotypes (17 loci) and sex from 128 individually-identified whales, we find significant differentiation among winter calving grounds based on both mtDNA haplotype (FST = 0.048, ΦST = 0.109, p < 0.01) and microsatellite allele frequencies (FST = 0.008, p < 0.01), consistent with long-term fidelity to calving areas. However, most genetic comparisons of calving grounds and migratory corridors were not significant, supporting the idea that whales from different calving grounds mix in migratory corridors. Furthermore, we find a significant relationship between δ13C stable isotope profiles of 66 Australian southern right whales, a proxy for feeding ground location, and both mtDNA haplotypes and kinship inferred from microsatellite-based estimators of relatedness. This indicates migratory culture may influence genetic structure on feeding grounds. This fidelity to migratory destinations is likely to influence population recovery, as long-term estimates of historical abundance derived from estimates of genetic diversity indicate the South Pacific calving grounds remain at <10% of pre-whaling abundance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:migration, cultural traditions, southern right whale, Australia, New Zealand,
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Alderman, R (Ms Rachael Alderman)
ID Code:118465
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:61
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2017-07-12
Last Modified:2017-08-24
Downloads:145 View Download Statistics

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