Analysis of mitochondrial DNA clarifies the taxonomy and distribution of the Australian snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) in northern Australian waters

Palmer, Carol, Murphy, Stephen A., Thiele, Deborah, Parra, Guido J., Robertson, Kelly M., Beasley, Isabel, and Austin, Chris M. (2011) Analysis of mitochondrial DNA clarifies the taxonomy and distribution of the Australian snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) in northern Australian waters. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (11). pp. 1303-1307.

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Abstract

Conservation management relies on being able to identify and describe species. Recent morphological and molecular analyses of the dolphin genus Orcaella show a species-level disjunction between eastern Australia and South-east Asia. However, because of restricted sampling, the taxonomic affinities of the geographically intermediate populations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia remained uncertain. We sequenced 403 base pairs of the mitochondrial control region from five free-ranging Orcaella individuals sampled from north-western Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Low net nucleotide divergence (0.11–0.67%) among the Australian Orcaella populations show that populations occurring in the Northern Territory and Western Australia belong to the Australian snubfin (O. heinsohni) rather than the Asian Irrawaddy dolphin (O. brevirostris). Clarifying the distribution of Orcaella is an important first step in the conservation and management for both species; however, an understanding of the metapopulation structure and patterns of dispersal among populations is now needed.

Item ID: 20809
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: distribution, mitochondrial DNA, northern Australia
ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2012 06:32
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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