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Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in remnant and translocated sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations

Journal of Mammalogy

By:
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https://doi.org/10.1644/1545-1542(2002)083<0893:MDAMDV>2.0.CO;2

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Abstract

All existing sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations have suffered at least 1, and in some cases 2, population bottlenecks. The 1st occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of commercial hunting that eliminated sea otters from much their native range and reduced surviving populations to small remnants. The 2nd bottleneck occurred when small numbers of otters were reintroduced, via translocation, to areas where the species had been eliminated. We examined genetic variation at 7 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region in 3 remnant populations, Amchitka Island (Aleutian Islands, Alaska), central coastal California, and Prince William Sound (Alaska), and in 2 reintroduced populations, southeast Alaska and Washington, that were founded with transplants from Amchitka, and in the case of southeast Alaska, individuals from Prince William Sound as well. We found no evidence of reduced genetic diversity in translocated populations. Average expected microsatellite heterozygosities (HE) were similar in all populations (range, 0.40–0.47), and mtDNA haplotype diversities were higher in reintroduced populations (0.51 for both Washington and southeast Alaska) than in remnant populations ( = 0.35; range, 0.18–0.45). The levels of genetic diversity we observed within sea otter populations were relatively low when compared with other mammals and are thought to be the result of fur trade exploitation.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in remnant and translocated sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations
Series title:
Journal of Mammalogy
DOI:
10.1644/1545-1542(2002)083<0893:MDAMDV>2.0.CO;2
Volume:
83
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Society of Mammalogists
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center, Western Ecological Research Center
Description:
14 p.
First page:
893
Last page:
906
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska, California, Washington
Other Geospatial:
Amchitka Island, Prince William Sound