Population structure of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation among South American Burmeister's porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis)

Sabrina Rosa, Michel C. Milinkovitch, Koen Van Waerebeek, Jehanne Berck, Jorge Oporto, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Marie Françoise Van Bressem, Natalie Goodall, Insa Cassens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the biology of Burmeister's porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis), a small cetacean species endemic to South American waters. Information on stock structure, however, is urgently needed, as the species suffers from considerable mortality due to local fishery activities throughout its distribution range. Using mitochondrial control region sequences and 11 species-specific microsatellite loci, we assessed the genetic differentiation among 118 stranded, incidentally or directly-caught Burmeister's porpoises from different localities in Peruvian, Chilean, and Argentine waters. F-statistics and Bayesian clustering analyses indicate a major population differentiation along the South American Pacific coast, separating Peruvian from both Chilean and Argentine individuals. Interestingly, this population boundary is consistent with the population structure found in another sympatrically-occurring cetacean species: the dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). Given that vulnerability to local depletion for South American coastal porpoises and dolphins is probably highest in the Peruvian population (due to high exploitation levels and recurrent El Niño events), the genetic data reported here considerably strengthen the need for conservation efforts focused on regulation of catches in local waters. Moreover, we discuss possible genetic differentiation among Burmeister's porpoises (i) from the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and (ii) from different Peruvian harbors. Finally, cross-species amplifications suggest that our newly-developed microsatellite markers will be useful in population genetic studies in the five other extant porpoise species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-443
Number of pages13
JournalConservation Genetics
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

Keywords

  • Cetacean
  • Management
  • Microsatellites
  • Population structure
  • mtDNA

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Population structure of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation among South American Burmeister's porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this