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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 22, 2014

Genetic monitoring of pilot whales, Globicephala spp. (Cetacea: Delphinidae), stranded on French coasts

Etienne Sabatier, Eric Pante, Claire Dussud, Olivier Van Canneyt, Benoit Simon-Bouhet and Amélia Viricel
From the journal Mammalia

Abstract

We used mitochondrial DNA control region sequences to genetically identify to the species level 23 pilot whales (genus Globicephala) that stranded on the French coasts between 1996 and 2011. Genetic analysis complemented morphological diagnoses, often hampered by an overlap in morphological characters between the two species or incomplete measurements. Mitochondrial DNA data allowed identification of 21 long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) and two unusual stranding events of the more tropical species (Globicephala macrorhynchus). In pilot whales as in most cetaceans, shifts in species range are expected to occur due to global climate change. In this context, our study contributes to the long-term monitoring of pilot whale stranding events, providing indirect information on species occurrence.


Corresponding author: Amélia Viricel, Littoral, Environnement et Sociétés, UMR 7266, CNRS-Université de La Rochelle, 2 rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France, e-mail:

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Willy Dabin and Fabien Demaret (PELAGIS) for providing tissue samples, and members of the French marine mammal stranding network (“RNE”) for collecting morphometric data on stranded specimens. DNA samples were prepared at the Molecular Core Facility at the University of La Rochelle. Funding for reagents and sequencing was provided by the Observatoire PELAGIS. Salaries for A.V. and E.P. were covered by grants to the Poitou-Charentes region: Contrat de Projet Etat-Région 2007–2013 (A.V.) and Fonds Européen de Développement Régional 2007–2013 (E.P.).

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Received: 2013-10-25
Accepted: 2014-2-4
Published Online: 2014-2-22
Published in Print: 2015-2-1

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