Population Structure as Revealed by mtDNA and Microsatellites in Northern Fur Seals, Callorhinus ursinus, throughout Their Range
Dickerson, Bobette R.
Ream, Rolf R.
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CitationDickerson, Bobette R., Rolf R. Ream, Sacha N. Vignieri, and Paul Bentzen. 2010. Population structure as revealed by mtDNA and microsatellites in Northern Fur Seals, Callorhinus ursinus, throughout their range. PLoS ONE 5:e10671.
AbstractBackground: The northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus; NFS) is a widely distributed pinniped that has been shown to exhibit a high degree of philopatry to islands, breeding areas on an island, and even to specific segments of breeding areas. This level of philopatry could conceivably lead to highly genetically divergent populations. However, northern fur seals have the potential for dispersal across large distances and have experienced repeated rapid population expansions following glacial retreat and the more recent cessation of intensive harvest pressure. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using microsatellite and mitochondrial loci, we examined population structure in NFS throughout their range. We found only weak population genetic structure among breeding islands including significant FST and ΦST values between eastern and western Pacific islands. Conclusions: We conclude that insufficient time since rapid population expansion events (both post glacial and following the cessation of intense harvest pressure) mixed with low levels of contemporary migration have resulted in an absence of genetic structure across the entire northern fur seal range.
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