Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins

Date:
July 2, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
A new study estimating population genetic structure of little-known dolphins inhabiting Western Australia's north coast highlights vulnerability.

New study estimating population genetic structure of little-known dolphins inhabiting Western Australia's north coast highlights vulnerability, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Alex Brown from Murdoch University and colleagues.

Related Articles


Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins occur throughout tropical coastal waters of northern Australia, but little is known of their abundance or life history characteristics because of their remote range. "Both snubfin and humpback dolphins are listed as 'near threatened' by the IUCN, but the lack of information about them has prevented a comprehensive assessment of their conservation status," Alex said. "The few studies conducted to date suggest that they occur in small populations that are dependent on the coastal environment and are, therefore, sensitive to coastal habitat modification." Large-scale industrial development is occurring across north-western Australia, resulting in modification to coastal habitats through dredging, construction and increased shipping. With so little data on coastal dolphins in this region, the potential impact of these developments remains unknown.

Using small tissue samples collected with a dart, the researchers compared the genetic characteristics of two populations of each species -- snubfin dolphins from Roebuck Bay and Cygnet Bay in the Kimberley region and humpback dolphins from the North West Cape and the Dampier Archipelago in the Pilbara.

"Results showed that there wasn't much mixing between the populations," Alex said. "They are fairly isolated, with low levels of gene flow between populations separated by about 300 km of coastline."

"Existing as a series of small populations with limited gene flow, they are more vulnerable to environmental change and localised extinctions compared to a single, larger population," explained senior author Dr. Celine Frθre of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The researchers are urging management agencies to treat the dolphin populations as small, discrete fragments and to preserve corridors for individuals to travel between populations.

In another first, Alex documented the first recorded hybrid between a humpback and snubfin dolphin. "We were at first puzzled by this unusual looking dolphin," said Alex. Genetic analysis revealed it to be the offspring of a snubfin dolphin mother and humpback dolphin father. "It really highlights how little we know about these animals," he added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander M. Brown, Anna M. Kopps, Simon J. Allen, Lars Bejder, Bethan Littleford-Colquhoun, Guido J. Parra, Daniele Cagnazzi, Deborah Thiele, Carol Palmer, Celine H. Frθre. Population Differentiation and Hybridisation of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis) Dolphins in North-Western Australia. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e101427 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101427

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702151429.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, July 2). Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702151429.htm
PLOS. "Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702151429.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) — If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) — Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) — Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) — A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins