Cryptic lineage differentiation among Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the northwest Indian Ocean

H. W.I. Gray, S. Nishida, A. J. Welch, A. E. Moura, S. Tanabe, M. S. Kiani, R. Culloch, L. Möller, A. Natoli, L. S. Ponnampalam, G. Minton, M. Gore, T. Collins, A. Willson, R. Baldwin, A. R. Hoelzel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Phylogeography can provide insight into the potential for speciation and identify geographic regions and evolutionary processes associated with species richness and evolutionary endemism. In the marine environment, highly mobile species sometimes show structured patterns of diversity, but the processes isolating populations and promoting differentiation are often unclear. The Delphinidae (oceanic dolphins) are a striking case in point and, in particular, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.). Understanding the radiation of species in this genus is likely to provide broader inference about the processes that determine patterns of biogeography and speciation, because both fine-scale structure over a range of kilometers and relative panmixia over an oceanic range are known for Tursiops populations. In our study, novel Tursiops spp. sequences from the northwest Indian Ocean (including mitogenomes and two nuDNA loci) are included in a worldwide Tursiops spp. phylogeographic analysis. We discover a new ‘aduncus’ type lineage in the Arabian Sea (off India, Pakistan and Oman) that diverged from the Australasian lineage ∼261 Ka. Effective management of coastal dolphins in the region will need to consider this new lineage as an evolutionarily significant unit. We propose that the establishment of this lineage could have been in response to climate change during the Pleistocene and show data supporting hypotheses for multiple divergence events, including vicariance across the Indo-Pacific barrier and in the northwest Indian Ocean. These data provide valuable transferable inference on the potential mechanisms for population and species differentiation across this geographic range.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
    Volume122
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018

    Keywords

    • Conservation
    • Indian Ocean
    • Phylogeography
    • Pleistocene
    • Taxonomy
    • Tursiops aduncus

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