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Genetic status of an endemic marine mammal, the Australian fur seal, following historical harvesting

journal contribution
posted on 2010-06-01, 00:00 authored by M Lancaster, John ArnouldJohn Arnould, R Kirkwood
Genetic variation, and the way in which it is partitioned among populations, has implications for a species’ survival and evolutionary potential. Such information is particularly important for the successful conservation and management of species that have experienced past human impacts and potential losses of genetic diversity. Overharvesting of the Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus in the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in severe population reductions and elimination of an estimated 17 of 26 colonies. Currently, the subspecies is recovering and c. 20 000 pups are produced annually at 13 colony sites, most of which are situated in Bass Strait in south-eastern Australia. Genetic analysis of samples collected from pups captured at nine colonies revealed no difference in allelic diversity or heterozygosity at five microsatellite loci and no differences in haplotype diversity within a 344 bp region of the mitochondrial DNA control region. There was some evidence for isolation by distance but the program STRUCTURE predicted a single cluster of individuals. Gene flow among colonies appears to be substantial at present, indicating that the Australian fur seal is currently a single, panmictic unit.

History

Journal

Animal conservation

Volume

13

Issue

3

Pagination

247 - 255

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

London, England

ISSN

1367-9430

eISSN

1469-1795

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, John Wiley & Sons