The Marine Mammal Genetics Group identifies population structure using primarily genetic data. Population structure is identified at two levels: the evolutionary level, which is integral to implementing the Endangered Species Act, and the demographic level, which forms the basis for conservation under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Effective conservation and management efforts of marine mammals rely on accurate identification of population structure at both of these levels.
We integrate our strong expertise in conservation biology, systematics and population genetics to provide the best information possible to identify population structure. We collaborate closely with the expertise in other research divisions including population dynamics, ecology, behavior, life history, acoustics, oceanography and photogrammetry.
Research is supported by our state-of-the-art conservation genetics laboratory and genetics tissue archive. The latter houses a continually growing world-wide sample collection enriched by international scientific collaborations. The genetics archive, the genetics laboratory, and the database operated by our group provide the infrastructure necessary to drive the management science and ensure high quality data for current and future needs. We also develop new molecular techniques and innovative analytical approaches designed specifically to improve management decisions and provide expert advice on population structure at regional, national and international management and academic meetings.
Testing of Spatial Structure Methods (TOSSM) website
An international effort to conduct simulation performance testing of genetic analytical methods
PRD Molecular Ecology Laboratory website
The core genetics laboratory serving all of PRD's Programs
SWFSC Marine Mammal and Turtle Molecular Research Sample Collection
One of the largest marine mammal and marine turtle sample collections in the world
- Sperm whale population structure in the eastern andcentral north Pacific inferred by the use of single nucleotide polymorphisms(SNPs), microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA
Mesnick, S.L., B.L. Taylor, F.I. Archer, K.K. Martien, S. Escorza-Trevino, B.L. Hancock, S.C. Moreno-Medina, V.L. Pease, K.M.Robertson, J.M. Straley, R.W. Baird, J. Calambokidis, G.S. Schorr, P.R.Wade, V. Burkanov, C.R. Lunsford, L. Rendell and P.A. Morin. In press. Sperm whale population structure in the eastern and central north Pacific inferred by the use of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Ecology Resources.
- Defining Populations and Stocks
Taylor, B.L., K.K. Martien,and P.A. Morin, 2010, Defining Populations and Stocks, in Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation: A handbook of techniques, I.Boyd, D. Bowen, and S. Iverson, Editors. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
- The Status of the World’s Land and Marine Mammals: Diversity, Threats, and Knowledge
Schipper et al. (100+ authors incl. B.L. Taylor). In Press. The Status of the World’s Land and Marine Mammals: Diversity, Threats, and Knowledge. Science.
- Evidence of genetic differentiation for Hawai'i insular false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens)
Chivers,S.J., R.W. Baird, K.K.Martien, B.L. Taylor, F.I. Archer, A.M. Gorgone, B.L. Hancock, N.M. Hedrick, D. Matilla, D.J. McSweeney, E.M.Oleson, C.L. Palmer, V.L. Pease, K.M. Robertson, J. Robbins, J.C. Salinas, G.S. Schorr, M. Schultz, J.L. Thieleking, and D.L. Webster. 2010. Evidence of genetic differentiation for Hawai'i insular false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens). U.S.Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS, NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-458,44 p.
- Complete mitochondrial genome phylogeographic analysis of killer whales (Orcinus orca) indicates multiple species
Morin,P.A., F.I. Archer, A.D. Foote, J. Vilstrup, E.E. Allen, P.R.Wade, J. Durban, K. Parsons, R. Pitman, L. Li, P. Bouffard, S.C. Abel Nielsen,M. Rasmussen, E. Willerslev, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, and T. Harkins. 2010.Complete mitochondrial genome phylogeographic analysis of killer whales(Orcinus orca) indicates multiple species. Genome Research 20(7):908-916.
- Applied conservation genetics and the need for quality control and reporting of genetic data used in management
Morin, P.A., K.K. Martien, F.I. Archer, F. Cipriano, D. Steel, J. Jackson, and B.L. Taylor. 2010. Applied conservation genetics and the need for quality control and reporting of genetic data used in management. Journal of Heredity 101: 1-10.