A genetic perspective of the recovery and future conservation of the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) following 20th century exploitation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The Antarctic blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus intermedia, at over 30 metres long and150 - 200 tonnes, is considered to be the largest animal to ever have existed. During20th Century whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, its sheers size made the Antarcticblue whale a prime target. During this period, Antarctic blue whales were reduced to0.15% of the estimated unexploited population size. In biological terms, such an event isknown as a bottleneck, and is considered to have long lasting negative effects on thegenetic diversity of the population. In the present study, recent genetic research isreviewed with regards to the genetic status of Antarctic blue whale populationsfollowing the 20th Century bottleneck event. The future of Antarctic blue whaleconservation and the potential incorporation of genetic information into conservationmanagement and policy decisions is also reviewed.
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