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Keywords:

  • Cetacea;
  • microsatellite;
  • polymorphic;
  • Tursiops

Abstract

We developed eight polymorphic microsatellite loci that can be used to elucidate population structure and aid management of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the northwest Atlantic. These loci averaged nine alleles, with no evidence for null alleles. Their cross-species utility was examined in Cephalorhynchus commersonii, Delphinus delphis, Delphinapterus leucas, Eschrictius robustus, Globicephala macrorhynchus, Lagenorhynchus obliquidens, Orcinus orca, Steno bredanensis and Stenella clymene. On average, 75% of the loci were polymorphic in these species (range = 50–88%). Our results indicate that these loci will be useful for elucidating population structure of bottlenose dolphin as well as of other cetacean species.