Initial genotype matching of humpback whales from the 2010 Australia/New Zealand Antarctic Whale Expedition (Area V) to Australia and the South Pacific
Steel, D, Schmitt, N, Anderson, M, Burns, D, Childerhouse, S, Constantine, R, Franklin, T, Franklin, W, Gales, N, Garrigue, C, Gibb, N, Hauser, N, Mattila, Olavarria, C, paton, D, Poole, M, Robbins, J, Ward, J, Harrison, P, Braverstock, P, Double, B & Baker, CS 2010, paper presented to International Whaling Committee Scientific Committee Meeting, SC/63/SH10, Tromso, Norway, June.
Here we present new records of humpback whale migratory connections between Antarctic AreaV and migratory corridors of Australia and the South Pacific based on genotype matching (up to10 microsatellite loci, with sex and mitochondrial DNA). A total of n = 64 skin biopsy sampleswere collected by the Australia/New Zealand Antarctic Whale Expedition during the 2010 australsummer within Antarctic Area V, concentrated between 162ºE and 179ºW. Comparison ofmicrosatellite genotypes resolved 57 individuals representing 28 females and 29 males. Theseindividuals were then compared to databases of genotypes generated in three independentlaboratories, using samples collected in 3 regions: the west coast of Australia (2007, n = 204), theeast coast of Australia (1996-2010, 5 locations, n = 865), and New Zealand/Oceania (1991-2009, 7locations, n = 1,203). Following standardisation of allele bin sizes this comparison revealed 7likely matches to known migratory corridors; 3 to Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia (south bound migration), 3 to Byron Bay, NSW Australia (north bound migration) and one to CookStrait, New Zealand (north bound migration). These results are concordant with previouslydescribed connections from Discovery marking and with results of photo-identification matchingfrom the same expedition, showing a strong connection of Area V to the presumed easternAustralia breeding stock with little or no detectable connection to Oceania.