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Phylogeography, intraspecific structure and sex-biased dispersal of Dall’s porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, revealed by mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA analyses


  • S. Escorza-Treviño,

    Corresponding author
    1. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA,
    2. Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92038, USA
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  • A. E. Dizon

    1. Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92038, USA
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S. Escorza-Treviño, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla, CA 92038-0271, USA. Fax: +1 (858) 546-7003; E-mail:


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control-region sequences and microsatellite loci length polymorphisms were used to estimate phylogeographical patterns (historical patterns underlying contemporary distribution), intraspecific population structure and gender-biased dispersal of Phocoenoides dalli dalli across its entire range. One-hundred and thirteen animals from several geographical strata were sequenced over 379 bp of mtDNA, resulting in 58 mtDNA haplotypes. Analysis using FST values (based on haplotype frequencies) and ΦST values (based on frequencies and genetic distances between haplotypes) yielded statistically significant separation (bootstrap values P < 0.05) among most of the stocks currently used for management purposes. A minimum spanning network of haplotypes showed two very distinctive clusters, differentially occupied by western and eastern populations, with some common widespread haplotypes. This suggests some degree of phyletic radiation from west to east, superimposed on gene flow. Highly male-biased migration was detected for several population comparisons. Nuclear microsatellite DNA markers (119 individuals and six loci) provided additional support for population subdivision and gender-biased dispersal detected in the mtDNA sequences. Analysis using FST values (based on allelic frequencies) yielded statistically significant separation between some, but not all, populations distinguished by mtDNA analysis. RST values (based on frequencies of and genetic distance between alleles) showed no statistically significant subdivision. Again, highly male-biased dispersal was detected for all population comparisons, suggesting, together with morphological and reproductive data, the existence of sexual selection. Our molecular results argue for nine distinct dalli-type populations that should be treated as separate units for management purposes.