Genetic isolation of a now extinct population of bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops truncatus )
Herman, Jeremy S.
Gaggiotti, Oscar E
Dobney, Keith M
Hoelzel, A. Rus
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A number of dolphin species, though highly mobile, show genetic structure among parapatric and sometimes sympatric populations. However, little is known about the temporal patterns of population structure for these species. Here, we apply Bayesian inference and data from ancient DNA to assess the structure and dynamics of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) populations in the coastal waters of the UK. We show that regional population structure in UK waters is consistent with earlier studies suggesting local habitat dependence for this species in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic. One genetically differentiated UK population went extinct at least 100 years ago and has not been replaced. The data indicate that this was a local extinction, and not a case of historical range shift or contraction. One possible interpretation is a declining metapopulation and conservation need for this species in the UK.