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Comparative Study
, 8 (5), e63396

Mitogenomic Phylogenetics of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera Physalus Spp.): Genetic Evidence for Revision of Subspecies

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Comparative Study

Mitogenomic Phylogenetics of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera Physalus Spp.): Genetic Evidence for Revision of Subspecies

Frederick I Archer et al. PLoS One.

Abstract

There are three described subspecies of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): B. p. physalus Linnaeus, 1758 in the Northern Hemisphere, B. p. quoyi Fischer, 1829 in the Southern Hemisphere, and a recently described pygmy form, B. p. patachonica Burmeister, 1865. The discrete distribution in the North Pacific and North Atlantic raises the question of whether a single Northern Hemisphere subspecies is valid. We assess phylogenetic patterns using ~16 K base pairs of the complete mitogenome for 154 fin whales from the North Pacific, North Atlantic--including the Mediterranean Sea--and Southern Hemisphere. A Bayesian tree of the resulting 136 haplotypes revealed several well-supported clades representing each ocean basin, with no haplotypes shared among ocean basins. The North Atlantic haplotypes (n = 12) form a sister clade to those from the Southern Hemisphere (n = 42). The estimated time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) for this Atlantic/Southern Hemisphere clade and 81 of the 97 samples from the North Pacific was approximately 2 Ma. 14 of the remaining North Pacific samples formed a well-supported clade within the Southern Hemisphere. The TMRCA for this node suggests that at least one female from the Southern Hemisphere immigrated to the North Pacific approximately 0.37 Ma. These results provide strong evidence that North Pacific and North Atlantic fin whales should not be considered the same subspecies, and suggest the need for revision of the global taxonomy of the species.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Location of fin whale mitogenome samples (n = 154).
Each small circle represents a single sample. Larger symbols are: red triangle = reference sequence from Arnason et al (1998), red diamond = Mediterranean Sea samples (n = 5), blue diamond = stranded western Australia samples (n = 2).
Figure 2
Figure 2. Summary of Bayesian fin whale phylogenetic tree using full mitogenome sequences (mito dataset).
The root leads to divergence of fin whales from humpbacks. Branches with two or more samples in the same ocean basin have been collapsed. Numbers in parentheses are number of samples at each branch tip, except for the single Southern Hemisphere samples in clade 8 (SWFSC Lab ID 91296). Scale at bottom is node age in millions of years. Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) estimates, 95% Highest Posterior Density (HPD), and posterior probabilities (PP) of each numbered node are given in the inset table. TMRCA values not reported for nodes with PP<0.9. The full annotated tree is available at the Dryad data repository, http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.084g8.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Summary of Bayesian fin whale phylogenetic tree using protein coding mitogenome sequences (cds dataset).
The root leads to divergence of fin whales from humpbacks. Branches with two or more samples in the same ocean basin have been collapsed. Numbers in parentheses are number of samples at each branch tip. Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) estimates, 95% Highest Posterior Density (HPD), and posterior probabilities (PP) of each numbered node are given in the inset table. TMRCA values not reported for nodes with PP<0.9. The full annotated tree is available at the Dryad data repository http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.084g8.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Distribution of difference between mean distances to North Pacific clade A and North Pacific clade C for all mtDNA control region sequences.
Values below 0 indicate that the sample is closer to clade A than clade C.

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References

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