Nuclear and mitochondrial patterns of population structure in North Pacific false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens)

Karen Martien, Susan Chivers, Robin Baird, Frederick Archer, Antoinette Gorgone, Brittany Hancock-Hanser, David Mattila, Daniel McSweeney, Erin Oleson, Carol Palmer, Victoria Pease, Kelly Robertson, Gregory Schorr, Mark Schultz, Daniel Webster, Barbara Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are large delphinids typically found in deep water far offshore. However, in the Hawaiian Archipelago, there are 2 resident island-associated populations of false killer whales, one in the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) and one in the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). We use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences and genotypes from 16 nuclear DNA (nucDNA) microsatellite loci from 206 individuals to examine levels of differentiation among the 2 island-associated populations and offshore animals from the central and eastern North Pacific. Both mtDNA and nucDNA exhibit highly significant differentiation between populations, confirming limited gene flow in both sexes. The mtDNA haplotypes exhibit a strong pattern of phylogeographic concordance, with island-associated populations sharing 3 closely related haplotypes not found elsewhere in the Pacific. However, nucDNA data suggest that NWHI animals are at least as differentiated from MHI animals as they are from offshore animals. The patterns of differentiation revealed by the 2 marker types suggest that the island-associated false killer whale populations likely share a common colonization history, but have limited contemporary gene flow.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)611-626
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Heredity
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


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