Low genetic diversity in pygmy blue whales is due to climate-induced diversification rather than anthropogenic impacts

Attard, Catherine R., Beheregaray, Luciano B., Jenner, K. Curt S., Gill, Peter C., Jenner, Micheline-Nicole, Morrice, Margaret G., Teske, Peter R. and Möller, Luciana M. 2015, Low genetic diversity in pygmy blue whales is due to climate-induced diversification rather than anthropogenic impacts, Biology Letters, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 1-5, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.1037.

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Title Low genetic diversity in pygmy blue whales is due to climate-induced diversification rather than anthropogenic impacts
Author(s) Attard, Catherine R.
Beheregaray, Luciano B.
Jenner, K. Curt S.
Gill, Peter C.
Jenner, Micheline-Nicole
Morrice, Margaret G.
Teske, Peter R.
Möller, Luciana M.
Journal name Biology Letters
Volume number 11
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 5
Total pages 5
Publisher The Royal Society
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-05
ISSN 1744-957X
Keyword(s) Australia
Balaenoptera musculus
climate change
endangered species
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Evolutionary Biology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Summary Unusually low genetic diversity can be a warning of an urgent need to mitigate causative anthropogenic activities. However, current low levels of genetic diversity in a population could also be due to natural historical events, including recent evolutionary divergence, or long-term persistence at a small population size. Here, we determine whether the relatively low genetic diversity of pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) in Australia is due to natural causes or overexploitation. We apply recently developed analytical approaches in the largest genetic dataset ever compiled to study blue whales (297 samples collected after whaling and representing lineages from Australia, Antarctica and Chile). We find that low levels of genetic diversity in Australia are due to a natural founder event from Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) that occurred around the Last Glacial Maximum, followed by evolutionary divergence. Historical climate change has therefore driven the evolution of blue whales into genetically, phenotypically and behaviourally distinct lineages that will likely be influenced by future climate change.
Language eng
DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2014.1037
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
06 Biological Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Royal Society
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30080548

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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