Population differentiation and hybridisation of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins in North-Western Australia
Brown, AM, Kopps, AM, Allen, SJ, Bedjer, L, Littleford-Colquhoun, B, Parra, GJ, Cagnazzi, D, Thiele, D, Palmer, C & Frere, CH 2014, 'Population differentiation and hybridisation of Australian Snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific Humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins in North-Western Australia', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 7.
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Little is known about the Australian snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and Indo-Pacific humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins (‘snubfin’ and ‘humpback dolphins’, hereafter) of north-western Australia. While both species are listed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN, data deficiencies are impeding rigorous assessment of their conservation status across Australia. Understanding the genetic structure of populations, including levels of gene flow among populations, is important for the assessment of conservation status and the effective management of a species. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, we assessed population genetic diversity and differentiation between snubfin dolphins from Cygnet (n = 32) and Roebuck Bays (n = 25), and humpback dolphins from the Dampier Archipelago (n = 19) and the North West Cape (n = 18). All sampling locations were separated by geographic distances >200 km. For each species, we found significant genetic differentiation between sampling locations based on 12 (for snubfin dolphins) and 13 (for humpback dolphins) microsatellite loci (FST = 0.05–0.09; PFST = 0.50–0.70; P