Data from: Circumpolar diversity and geographic differentiation of mtDNA in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia)
Sremba, Angela L. et al. (2012), Data from: Circumpolar diversity and geographic differentiation of mtDNA in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.86pr0
The Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) was hunted to near extinction between 1904 and 1972, declining from an estimated initial abundance of more than 250,000 to fewer than 400. Here, we describe mtDNA control region diversity and geographic differentiation in the surviving population of the Antarctic blue whale, using 218 biopsy samples collected under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) during research cruises from 1990–2009. Microsatellite genotypes and mtDNA sequences identified 166 individuals among the 218 samples and documented movement of a small number of individuals, including a female that traveled at least 6,650 km or 131° longitude over four years. mtDNA sequences from the 166 individuals were aligned with published sequences from 17 additional individuals, resolving 52 unique haplotypes from a consensus length of 410 bp. From this minimum census, a rarefaction analysis predicted that only 72 haplotypes (95% CL, 64, 86) have survived in the contemporary population of Antarctic blue whales. However, haplotype diversity was relatively high (0.968±0.004), perhaps as a result of the longevity of blue whales and the relatively recent timing of the bottleneck. Despite the potential for circumpolar dispersal, we found significant differentiation in mtDNA diversity (FST = 0.032, p<0.005) and microsatellite alleles (FST = 0.005, p<0.05) among the six Antarctic Areas historically used by the IWC for management of blue whales.