Molecular insights into the historic demography of bowhead whales: understanding the evolutionary basis of contemporary management practices

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Abstract

Patterns of genetic variation observed within species reflect evolutionary histories that include signatures of past demography. Understanding the demographic component of species’ history is fundamental to informed management because changes in effective population size affect response to environmental change and evolvability, the strength of genetic drift, and maintenance of genetic variability. Species experiencing anthropogenic population reductions provide valuable case studies for understanding the genetic response to demographic change because historic changes in the census size are often well documented. A classic example is the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus, which experienced dramatic population depletion due to commercial whaling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consequently, we analyzed a large multimarker dataset of bowhead whales using a variety of analytical methods, including extended Bayesian skyline analysis and approximate Bayesian computation, to chara
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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