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Conservation status of long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas, in the Mediterranean Sea
Verborgh, P.; Gauffier, P.; Esteban, R.; Giménez, J.; Cañadas, A.; Salazar-Sierra, J.M.; de Stephanis, R. (2016). Conservation status of long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas, in the Mediterranean Sea. Adv. Mar. Biol. 75: 173–203
In: Advances in Marine Biology. Academic Press: London, New York. ISSN 0065-2881; e-ISSN 2162-5875, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Long-finned pilot whale

Authors  Top 
  • Verborgh, P.
  • Gauffier, P.
  • Esteban, R.
  • Giménez, J.
  • Cañadas, A.
  • Salazar-Sierra, J.M.
  • de Stephanis, R.

Abstract
    Mediterranean Sea long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) are currently classified as Data Deficient on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Multiple lines of evidence, including molecular genetic and photo-identification mark-recapture analyses, indicate that the Strait of Gibraltar population (distributed from 5.8° W longitude to west of Djibouti Bank and Alboran Dorsal in the Alboran Sea) is differentiated from the Mediterranean Sea population (east of Djibouti Bank and the Alboran Dorsal up to the Ligurian Sea). There is low genetic diversity within the Mediterranean population, and recent gene flow with the Strait of Gibraltar population is restricted. Current total abundance estimates are lacking for the species in the Mediterranean. Pilot whales in the Alboran Sea region were negatively affected by a morbillivirus epizootic from 2006 to 2007, and recovery may be difficult. The Strait of Gibraltar population, currently estimated to be fewer than 250 individuals, decreased by 26.2% over 5 years after the morbillivirus epizootic. Population viability analyses predicted an 85% probability of extinction for this population over the next 100 years. Increasing maritime traffic, increased contaminant burdens, and occasional fisheries interactions may severely impair the capacity of the Strait of Gibraltar population to recover after the decline due to the pathogen.

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