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Mitochondrial and microsatellite assessment of population structure of South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean
Feijoo, M.; Lessa, E.P.; Loizaga de Castro, R.; Crespo, E.A. (2011). Mitochondrial and microsatellite assessment of population structure of South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(8): 1857-1867. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1697-4
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Feijoo, M.
  • Lessa, E.P.
  • Loizaga de Castro, R.
  • Crespo, E.A.

Abstract
    Several major breeding areas have been defined for the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) along the Atlantic Ocean including the Uruguayan and Patagonian coasts. Together with a documented and severe reduction in population sizes caused by commercial hunting in the last century, these areas show opposite population trends. While Patagonian populations are recovering since hunting ceased, Uruguayan populations are declining. In this context, population genetic structure and genetic diversity were studied for the first time with both nuclear (microsatellites) and mitochondrial (control region) markers together. Alternative scenarios were found for both markers. While mitochondrial marker showed geographically structured populations, the nuclear loci showed a lack of geographical structure. These opposite patterns in genetic structure could be explained by female phylopatry and high male dispersion. The reduction in population size caused by commercial hunting did not leave a detectable footprint of bottleneck at the genetic level.

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