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Cypriano-Souza A.L.,Grande Rio University | Cypriano-Souza A.L.,Projeto Baleia Jubarte Instituto Baleia Jubarte | Fernandez G.P.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Lima-Rosa C.A.V.,Santa Catarina State University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Heredity | Year: 2010

The Southwestern Atlantic Ocean humpback whales wintering ground (breeding stock A) are distributed along the Brazilian coast (5-23°S), and their main mating and calving ground is in the Abrolhos Bank. We investigated genetic diversity, population structure, and relatedness of individuals sampled from the entire Southwest Atlantic humpback whale population. A total of 275 individuals sampled from 2 subregions (Abrolhos Bank, n = 229 and Praia do Forte, n = 46) were screened for 9 microsatellite loci. This population showed a high level of allelic diversity (A = 12.1) and a high mean observed heterozygosity (HO = 0.733). No signal of significant genetic bottleneck was detected in accordance with the mitochondrial DNA data. We find no evidence of temporal (between years) genetic structure as well as no genetic differentiation between whales from the 2 subregions of the Brazilian breeding ground. We observed that the proportion of males and females in this population was approximately 1:1, which differs from the male-biased sex ratio observed in other breeding grounds. The data obtained through this study provided no evidence of kinship associations within social groups. Finally, a female sampled off South Georgia Islands showed a putative parent-offspring relationship with a female off Abrolhos Bank, supporting the migratory link between these 2 areas. © 2009 The American Genetic Association. All rights reserved.

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