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Figure S1 Whaling artifacts and cetacean bones collected during surveys of the Gilbert Islands from 18 June to 14 July 2009: (a) whaling ‘try-pot’, a remnant of 19th-century whaling contact; (b) vertebra (KI004, identified as Mesoplodon sp., an unrecognized species or subspecies) and rib bone (KI014, no DNA identification) collected on Onotoa Island; and (c) mandible, rib and teeth of a sperm whale on display in Butaritari Island. Photographs courtesy of Al Hutt.

Figure S2 Representative identification of mtDNA sequences from cetacean material collected from the outer islands of the Gilbert group, in the Republic of Kiribati, using reference sequences available through the web-based application, DNA-surveillance (Ziphiidae Vs4.3): (a) control region (DLP) of KI0o2, KI011, KI012, KI018 and KI019; (b) cytochrome b (CYB) of KI002 and KI009. The neighbor-joining tree reflects species-specific grouping with bootstrap values based on 500 replications. The program is available at http://www.cebl.auckland.ac.nz:9000/page/whales/title.

Table S1 Sequences of the mtDNA control region (DLP) used in species identification of bones from Gilbert Islands. Shown in FASTA format with sample code followed by primer information

Table S2 Sequences of the mtDNA cytochrome b used in species identification of bones from Gilbert Islands. Shown in FASTA format with sample code followed by primer information

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