*LVC, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.
Conservation genetics of whales and dolphins
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Volume 1, Issue 2, pages 119–125, August 1992
How to Cite
HOELZEL, A. R. (1992), Conservation genetics of whales and dolphins. Molecular Ecology, 1: 119–125. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.1992.tb00163.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received 8 February 1992; accepted 1 March 1992
- molecular genetics;
- stock identity
Whales and dolphins (cetaceans) are found in all the world's oceans and in some of the major rivers, yet little is known about the distribution and behaviour of many species. At the same time, cetaceans are under threat from a variety of pressures including direct and indirect takes, pollution, and competition for habitat and prey. To ensure their long–term survival it will be necessary to preserve genetic diversity through the identification and protection of differentiated populations, the assessment of variation within local populations, and through a better understanding of reproductive and dispersal behaviour. The application of molecular genetic techniques is helping to provide answers to some of these previously intractable questions. Early results suggest few consistent patterns. Obvious geographic boundaries correlate to genetic distance in some species, and not in others. Furthermore, morphological variation within species can be fairly extensive without correlating to genetic distance, or relatively minor between morphotypes that are as genetically distinct as some species. These examples emphasize the need for further study.