Navigation Links
Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA
Date:5/11/2012

Estimates of whale population size based on genetics versus historical records diverge greatly, making it difficult to fully understand the ecological implications of the large-scale commercial whaling of the 19th and early 20th centuries, but a comparison of DNA samples from modern and prehistoric gray whales supports the idea that the population was substantially larger pre-whaling and saw a sharp, recent decrease that is consistent with whaling as the cause. The full results are reported May 9 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Previous estimates of pre-whaling population size in gray whales using historic records and census modeling suggest there used to be about 15,000 to 35,500 eastern Pacific gray whales. In contrast, estimates from genetic data suggest a much higher original population size of about 78,000 to 116,000 individuals. This discrepancy, though, could be explained by a pre-whaling decrease in population. The authors of the current study, led by Elizabeth Alter of City University of New York (York College), set out to test this hypothesis.

They isolated DNA from whale bones excavated from archaeological sites, ranging from about 150 to 2,500 years old. By comparing these sequences with sequences from modern whales, they determined that a severe decline in whale population occurred recently, suggesting that the original population size was indeed larger than estimated based on historical record and arguing against population decline caused by any pre-whaling forces.

"Retrieving DNA from ancient whales allows more direct insights into their population histories than using modern DNA alone. In this case, we were able to look at pre-whaling specimens of gray whales, and found that the genetic data are consistent with a sharp and recent bottleneck -- very likely the result of commercial whaling. As methods for retrieval and analysis of ancient DNA improve, we'll be able to increasingly refine population histories for heavily exploited species like whales."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Laloup
jlaloup@plos.org
415-624-1220
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
2. UBC researcher reveals humpback whales dining habits -- and costs
3. American Library Association names NJIT prof’s Whale Music book a top ten
4. High numbers of right whales seen in Gulf of Maine
5. Early whales gave birth on land, fossil find reveals
6. Older killer whales make the best mothers
7. Early whales gave birth on land
8. Mama whales teach babies where to eat
9. Right whale sedation enables disentanglement effort
10. UIC biologists use DNA to study migration of threatened whale sharks
11. NOAA researchers: Blue whales re-establishing former migration patterns
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... April 27, 2016 Research ... Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal ... 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal ... sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: