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Title: Stable isotopes provide insight into population structure and segregation in eastern North Atlantic sperm whales
Author: Borrell Thió, Assumpció
Velásquez Vacca, Adriana
Pinela, A. M.
Kinze, C.
Lockyer, C. H.
Vighi, M.
Aguilar, Àlex
Keywords: Balenes
Ecologia marina
Biologia de poblacions
Poblacions animals
Atlàntic, Oceà
Marine ecology
Population biology
Animal populations
Atlantic Ocean
Issue Date: 6-Dec-2013
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly highly mobile, shows indication of structuring in the eastern North Atlantic, an ocean basin in which a single population is believed to occur. To do so, we examined stable isotope values in sequential growth layer groups of teeth from individuals sampled in Denmark and NW Spain. In each layer we measured oxygen- isotope ratios (δ18O) in the inorganic component (hydroxyapatite), and nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios (δ15N: δ13C) in the organic component (primarily collagenous). We found significant differences between Denmark and NW Spain in δ15N and δ18O values in the layer deposited at age 3, considered to be the one best representing the baseline of the breeding ground, in δ15N, δ13C and δ18O values in the period up to age 20, and in the ontogenetic variation of δ15N and δ18O values. These differences evidence that diet composition, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2013, vol. 8, num. 12, p. e82398
Related resource:
ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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