A review of genetic differentiation of a population of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The circumpolar distributed Antarctic Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is considered sensitive to climate change, due to its disappearing fast ice breeding habitat, and assumed to have little panmixia due to a high degree of natal site fidelity. The advancement of molecular techniques has greatly assisted the understanding of population structure within this still cryptic species, and is beginning to reveal a significant relationship between the retreating ice edge extent and decreasing seal population size. However, there is still a need to investigate population trends at a continent-wide scale, to fully understand the climatic changes occurring in relation to the charismatic megafauna.
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