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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 247:257-261 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps247257

Source of Aegean Sea harbour porpoises

Patricia E. Rosel1,*, Alexandros Frantzis2, Christina Lockyer3, Anastasia Komnenou4

1National Marine Fisheries Service, 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29412, USA
2Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, Terpsichoris 21, 16671 Vouliagmeni, Greece and National Centre for Marine Research, Agios Kosmas, 16604 Hellenikon, Greece
3Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Charlottenlund Slot, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
4Clinic of Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, St Voutyra 11, 54627 Thessaloniki, Greece

ABSTRACT: Documented sightings of harbour porpoises in the Mediterranean are rare, although the species is common in the neighbouring North Atlantic and Black Sea. However, in the past 2 decades, 4 harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena have been recorded in the northern Aegean Sea in the eastern Mediterranean Basin. Samples were taken from 2 of these. Both have a genetic signature indicative of the Black Sea and their age and small size further suggest they originated from the Black Sea rather than the Atlantic population. These results are the first to indicate probable movement of porpoises out of the Black Sea and into the Mediterranean Sea.

KEY WORDS: Phocoena · Genetic identification · Mediterranean · Mitochondrial DNA

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