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Title: The relationship between developmental stability, genomic diversity and environmental stress in two Cetacean species : the harbour porpoise (Phocoenaphocoena) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatusl)
Author: Lopez, Carlos Julian De Luna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 8502
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2005
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The relationship between developmental stability, genomic diversity and environmental stress in three eastern North Atlantic populations of the harbour porpoise {Phocoena phocoena), and in two populations of the western North Atlantic and one from the Gulf of California of the bottlenose dolphin {Tursiops truncatus) was investigated. In addition, the population structure for the two species from the study areas mentioned was also assessed. Population structure was determined using discriminant function analysis for morphological characters and a Bayesian analysis for microsatellite loci. Consistency of the results was assessed with pairwise comparisons between populations using two indices of population differentiation (F(_st) and Rho(_st)). For the harbour porpoises classification was made into three putative populations: Norwegian, British and Danish. For the bottlenose dolphin significant differentiation was found for the three populations studied. Population differentiation between the two western North Atlantic parapatric populations was the highest among the pairwise comparisons. This result highlights the importance of resource specialisation of bottlenose dolphins in causing population structure for parapatric populations. Developmental stability was assessed by fluctuating asymmetry (FA) measured on morphological traits. Genomic diversity was determined by five indices (mean cf, scaled mean cF, multilocus individual heterozygosity, standardised heterozygosity and internal relatedness). Environmental stress was assessed by the concentration of chemical pollutants in tissues, and from the literature published for chemical pollutants, by-catch rate, parasite load and mean surface ocean temperature. Significant relationships between FA and the indices of genomic diversity were found. The Norwegian population of harbour porpoises and the coastal population of the western North Atlantic of bottlenose dolphin showed the highest level of FA. Both populations also showed the least genetically diverse animals. However, no clarity was obtained in respect of the relationship between FA and environmental stress. British and Norwegian harbour porpoises did not show significant correlations between the concentration of several chemical pollutants in tissues and FA. In addition, the Norwegian population of harbour porpoise inhabits the least impacted areas in respect to the concentration of chemical pollutants in tissues, parasite load and by-catch rates. Environmental stress was difficult to assess on the bottlenose dolphins populations due to the scarcity of data. These results show the influence of genetic diversity on the disruption of developmental stability and they also show the importance of conservation practices in maintaining genetic diversity as an important factor for the subsistence of natural populations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available