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Keywords:

  • elephants;
  • female/offspring comigration;
  • population genetics;
  • sex-specific migration;
  • simulations;
  • whales

Abstract

We simulated large mammal populations using an individual-based stochastic model under various sex-specific migration schemes and life history parameters from the blue whale and the Asian elephant. Our model predicts that genetic structure at nuclear loci is significantly more influenced by female than by male migration. We identified requisite comigration of mother and offspring during gravidity and lactation as the primary cause of this phenomenon. In addition, our model predicts that the common assumption that geographical patterns of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) could be translated into female migration rates (Nmf) will cause biased estimates of maternal gene flow when extensive male migration occurs and male mtDNA haplotypes are included in the analysis.