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Population substructure of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) in Washington State using mtDNA

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We examined the pupping phenology and genetic variation between the currently defined stocks of harbor seals, Phoca vitulina richardsi (Gray, 1864), in Washington’s coastal and inland waters and looked in detail at genetic variation within the inland waters of Washington. We analyzed mtDNA variation in 552 harbor seals from nine areas in Washington State and the Canada-US transboundary waters. A total of 73 haplotypes were detected; 37 individuals had unique haplotypes. Pupping phenology and levels of genetic variation between the outer coastal stock (WA Coastal Estuaries, WA North Coast) and the inland waters stock (British Columbia, Boundary Bay, San Juan Islands, Smith/Minor Islands, Dungeness Spit, Hood Canal, Gertrude Island) corroborated the appropriateness of the present stock boundary. However, within the inland waters stock, Hood Canal and Gertrude Island were significantly different from the coastal stock, from the rest of the inland waters stock, and from each other. This indicates a total of four genetically distinct groups in Washington State, suggesting that managing the inland waters as a single stock may be erroneous.

Nous examinons la phénologie de la mise bas et la variation génétique chez les stocks actuellement définis de phoques communs, Phoca vitulina richardsi (Gray, 1864), dans les eaux côtières et intérieures de l’état de Washington et étudions en détail la variation génétique dans les eaux intérieures du Washington. Nous avons analysé la variation de l’ADNmt chez 552 phoques communs de neuf régions des eaux de l’état de Washington et des eaux transfrontalières Canada-É.U. Nous avons identifié 73 haplotypes au total; 37 individus possédaient des haplotypes uniques. La phénologie de la mise bas et les niveaux de variation génétique entre le stock côtier du large (estuaires côtiers de WA, côte nord de WA) et le stock des eaux intérieures (Colombie-Britannique, baie Boundary, îles San Juan, îles Smith/Minor, flèche littorale de Dungeness, canal Hood, île Gertrude) confirment la justesse de la frontière actuelle entre les stocks. Cependant, au sein des stocks des eaux intérieures, les stocks du canal Hood et de l’île Gertrude sont significativement différents du stock côtier, du reste du stock des eaux intérieures et l’un de l’autre. Il y a donc un total de quatre groupes génétiquement distincts dans l’état de Washington, ce qui laisse croire que la gestion des eaux intérieures comme un seul stock constitue une erreur.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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