Developing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for bowhead whales

July 10, 2015

Principal Investigator: Phillip Morin, Marine Mammal Genetics Program

Recent description of a few genetically distinct Baird’s beaked whales in northern Japan led to the suggestion that there may be a previously unidentified subspecies or species in the North Pacific. We surveyed samples of Baird’s beaked whales in the SWFSC collection and in collaboration with other researchers, and discovered 5 additional samples among 112 Baird’s beaked whales that had the unique haplotypes. These represent a likely new species related to Baird’s beaked whales. We are currently working with morphologists at the US National Museum of Natural History and in Japan to further characterize the differences between these specimens and Baird’s beaked whales.

Learn more:

Kitamura, S., Matsuishi, T., Yamada, T.K., Tajima, Y., Ishikawa, H., Tanabe, S., Nakagawa, H., Uni, Y., Abe, S., 2013. Two genetically distinct stocks in Baird's beaked whale (Cetacea: Ziphiidae). Mar Mammal Sci 29, 755-766.

Last modified: 10/4/2016