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ESR 44:11-31 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01087

Re-examination of population structure in Arctic ringed seals using DArTseq genotyping

A. R. Lang1,*, P. Boveng2, L. Quakenbush3, K. Robertson4, M. Lauf1, K. D. Rode5, H. Ziel2, B. L. Taylor4

1Ocean Associates, Inc., Arlington, VA 22207, USA, under contract to the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
2Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
3Arctic Marine Mammal Program, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fairbanks, AK 99701, USA
4Marine Mammal and Turtle Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
5Alaska Science Center, US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Although Arctic ringed seals Phoca hispida hispida are currently abundant and broadly distributed, their numbers are projected to decline substantially by the year 2100 due to climate warming. While understanding population structure could provide insight into the impact of environmental changes on this subspecies, detecting demographically important levels of exchange can be difficult in taxa with high abundance. We used a next-generation sequencing approach (DArTseq) to genotype ~5700 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 79 seals from 4 Pacific Arctic regions. Comparison of the 2 most geographically separated strata (eastern Bering vs. northeastern Chukchi-Beaufort Seas) revealed a statistically significant level of genetic differentiation (FST = 0.001, p = 0.005) that, while small, was 1 to 2 orders of magnitude greater than expected based on divergence estimated for similarly sized populations connected by low (1% yr-1) dispersal. A relatively high proportion (72 to 88%) of individuals within these strata could be genetically assigned to their stratum of origin. These results indicate that demographically important structure may be present among Arctic ringed seals breeding in different areas, increasing the risk that declines in the number of seals breeding in areas most negatively affected by environmental warming could occur.


KEY WORDS: Phoca hispida hispida · Population structure · Pacific Arctic · Climate warming · DArTseq


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Cite this article as: Lang AR, Boveng P, Quakenbush L, Robertson K and others (2021) Re-examination of population structure in Arctic ringed seals using DArTseq genotyping. Endang Species Res 44:11-31. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01087

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