Microsatellite assessment of walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) stocks in Canada
Keywords:walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, stocks, genetics, Canada
Walruses in Canada are currently subdivided into seven stocks based on summering areas; Western Jones Sound (WJS), Baffin Bay (BB), Penny Strait-Lancaster Sound (PS-LS), North Foxe Basin (N-FB), Central Foxe Basin (C-FB), Hudson Bay Davis Strait (HB-DS) and Southern and Eastern Hudson Bay (SE-HB). In this study, walrus were sampled from six of the seven stocks (SE-HB samples were not available) and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci. All stocks were genetically diverse (average heterozygosity of 0.58) with no evidence of inbreeding (average FIS of 0.03). We detected significant genetic differentiation among the stocks and a pattern of genetic spatial autocorrelation that suggests a moderate effect of geographic distance on gene flow among stocks. Bayesian clustering suggested the six recognized stocks were elements of two larger genetic clusters - a northern Arctic population (containing BB, WJS, and PS-LS stocks) and a central Arctic population (containing C-FB, N-FB, and HB-DS stocks). These populations are moderately differentiated (FST = 0.07), but based on evidence of contemporary movement from assignment tests, are not completely isolated. There was support for maintaining the WJS stock and a combined BB+PS-LS stock, although the latter conclusion is based on a small sample size. Similarly, there was some evidence suggesting separation of the Foxe Basin stocks from the HB-DS but not the N-FB from the C-FB stock. However, given that there are morphological and chemical differences between N-FB and C-FB stocks, there is currently insufficient evidence to support a revision of the current stock designations.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).