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Against the tide: Currents keep dolphins apart
Date:3/24/2011

n before diverging north and south as it meets the African continentseems to represent a barrier between genetically distinct populations of Mozambique and Tanzania; the current may play a role in creating them. Seasonal monsoons also potentially contribute to what researchers found was a lack of southbound migration (or detectable gene flow) along the African coast.

The researchers also found agreement on smaller spatial scales. Differences in temperature, chlorophyll, turbidity, and dissolved organic matter between regions also coincided with genetic differences between dolphin populations in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Oman. The two coastal regions without detectable genetic distinctiveness between dolphin populationsMozambique and South Africaalso lacked significant environmental differentiation between them, a finding in agreement with the correlation of both genetic and environmental differences detected in other areas.

"With increasing development and potential threats to coastal habitats, understanding the population structure of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in conjunction with environmental factors is an important step in formulating management recommendations and protection measures for the species," said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giants Program.


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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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