Canberra– Researchers have called for greater conservation efforts after conducting the first ever widespread census of the genetic diversity of dolphins living along 3,000 km of Australia’s southern coastline.
Published by Flinders University on Tuesday, the comprehensive study of common dolphin population found factors, including fluctuating salinity, sea surface temperatures and local currents have driven genetic diversity.
It called for greater efforts to assist connectivity between groups of dolphins to support long-term gene flow and improve their ability to adapt to habitat changes driven by human activity, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Information about how the environment affects DNA diversity of marine population can assist with the population management and in forecasting how they may cope with climate change and other anthropogenic impacts,” Andrea Barcelo, first author of the study, said in a media release.
The report found that common dolphins from protected coastal habitats and enclosed bay areas had genomic variations linked to fluctuations in salinity and local temperatures.
Other population had variations driven by local currents and sea surface temperatures.
Luciana Moller, co-author of the study from Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering, said maintaining connectivity between population would promote long-term genetic diversity.
“While so many breeding and feeding conditions are still unknown, it’s important for managers of our coastal environments to consider the importance of DNA diversity, particularly in the event of changes in key environmental conditions such as water temperatures, salinity and food sources,” she added.(IANS)