Biology Faculty Articles

Title

Influence of Seasonal Migration on Geographic Distribution of Mitochondrial DNA Haplotypes in Humpback Whales

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-15-1990

Publication Title

Nature

ISSN

0028-0836

Volume

344

Issue/No.

6263

First Page

238

Last Page

240

Abstract

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate nearly 10,000 km each year between summer feeding grounds in temperate or near-polar waters and winter breeding grounds in shallow tropical waters. Observations of marked individuals suggest that major oceanic populations of humpback whales are divided into a number of distinct seasonal subpopulations which are not separated by obvious geographic barriers. To test whether these observed patterns of distribution and migration are reflected in the genetic structure of populations, we looked for variation in the mitochondrial DNA of 84 individual humpback whales on different feeding and wintering grounds of the North Pacific and western North Atlantic oceans. On the basis of restriction-fragment analysis, we now report a marked segregation of mitochondrial DNA haplotypes among subpopulations as well as between the two oceans. We interpret this segregation to be the consequence of maternally directed fidelity to migratory destinations.

Comments

©1990 Nature Publishing Group

ORCID ID

0000-0001-7353-8301

ResearcherID

N-1726-2015

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