Islands in the sea: extreme female natal site fidelity in the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea

R.A. Campbell, N.J. Gales, G.M. Lento, C.S. Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    64 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Pinnipeds (seals, fur seals, sea lions and walrus) form large breeding aggregations with females often remaining faithful to a natal site or area. In these cases, females are philopatric to regional areas on broad geographical scales of hundreds to thousands of kilometres. An investigation of variation in a control region sequence of mtDNA in the Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) has shown a case of extreme female natal site fidelity that has resulted in almost fixed population differentiation across its range (Phi(ST) = 0.93). This high level of population subdivision over short geographical distances (approx. 60 km) is unparalleled in any social marine mammal and reflects the unique lifehistory traits of this rare species. The high level of population subdivision and exclusive female natal site fidelity has important ramifications for conservation management, and poses many interesting questions of both academic and applied interest.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-142
    JournalBiology Letters
    Volume4
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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