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Genetic diversity of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) populations in the western North Pacific and the conservation implications.

Chen, Ing and Nishida, Shin and Yang, Wei-Cheng and Isobe, Tomohiko and Tajima, Yuko and Hoelzel, A. Rus (2017) 'Genetic diversity of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) populations in the western North Pacific and the conservation implications.', Marine biology., 164 (10). p. 202.


The evolutionary processes that shape patterns of diversity in highly mobile marine species are poorly understood, but important towards transferable inference on their effective conservation. In this study, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) are studied to address this broader question. They exhibit remarkable geographical variation for morphology, life history, and genetic diversity, and this high level of variation has made the taxonomy of the genus controversial. A significant population structure has been reported for the most widely distributed species, the common bottlenose dolphin (T. truncatus), in almost all ocean basins, though no data have been available for the western North Pacific Ocean (WNP). The genetic diversity of bottlenose dolphins in the WNP was investigated based on 20 microsatellite and one mitochondrial DNA markers for samples collected from Taiwanese, Japanese, and Philippine waters (9°–39°N, 120°–140°E) during 1986–2012. The results indicated that there are at least four genetically differentiated populations of common bottlenose dolphins in the western and central North Pacific Ocean. The pattern of differentiation appears to correspond to habitat types, resembling results seen in other populations of the same species. Our analyses also showed that there was no evident gene flow between the two “sister species”, the common bottlenose dolphins, and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (T. aduncus) occurring sympatrically in our study region.

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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Date accepted:29 August 2017
Date deposited:15 September 2017
Date of first online publication:11 September 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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