January 4, 2011
Principal Investigator: Phillip Morin, Marine Mammal Genetics Group
We are conducting a population genetic structure analysis of beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon densirostris) from samples collected as part of an ongoing study of the Distribution, Abundance and Population Structuring of beaked whales in the Great Bahamas Canyon, led by Claridge et al. The samples consist of skin biopsies, sloughed skin, feces, and bone collected around the northern Bahamas. We are sequencing a portion of the mitochondrial control region that has previously been used for phylogenetic studies of beaked whales, and using a real-time PCR based method for sexing of all samples. In addition, we are developing approximately 50 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers at which to genotype all samples. We will use the data to investigate gene flow and population substructuring around the sampled regions. We will also use estimates of relatedness and phylogeography to evaluate site fidelity and social structure. These data will be used to better understand habitat use and movement patterns that may be affected by Navy sonar in the Atlantic Undersea Testing and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) range.
Behavioral response study at AUTEC