HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Whale populations are too low to resume commercial hunting, geneticists find

Scientists have vastly underestimated the number of humpbacks and other great whales that inhabited the North Atlantic Ocean before the advent of whaling, according to geneticists from Stanford and Harvard Universities. Their findings, published in the journal Science, could represent a major setback for countries that advocate lifting a 17-year moratorium on commercial whaling established by the London-based International Whaling Commission.

"The IWC is the main organization that regulates whaling, and its policies allow for the resumption of commercial hunting when populations reach a little more than half of their historic numbers," said Stephen R. Palumbi, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford and co-author of the July 25 Science study. The problem, he noted, is that the IWC bases its historic estimates on unconfirmed whaling records dating back to the mid-1800s.

"It is well known that hunting dramatically reduced all baleen whale populations, yet reliable estimates of former whale abundances are elusive," wrote Palumbi and Harvard graduate student Joe Roman, lead author of the study. "Whaling logbooks provide clues, but may be incomplete, intentionally underreported or fail to consider hunting loss."

Genetics surprise

To assess the accuracy of historic whaling records, Roman and Palumbi turned to the science of population genetics. "Our study marks the first attempt to use genetics rather than whaling records to confirm the number of whales that used to exist," said Palumbi, whose lab is based at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. "The genetics of populations has within it information about the past. If you can read the amount of genetic variation the difference in DNA from one individual whale to another and calibrate that, then you can estimate the historic size of the population."

In their study, Roman and Palumbi focused on the genetics of humpback, fin and minke whales three species decim
'"/>

Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
24-Jul-2003


Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Related biology news :

1. Whale carcass yields bone-devouring worms
2. Whales, seals or men? Who stole all the fish?
3. Whale study links genetics and reproductive success
4. AAAS at the BA: Whale food, winners and losers in Antarctica and solar insights
5. Whales get the bends
6. Whale of a Puget Sound problem lures UW researchers
7. Whales drawn to waters off Mississippi River Delta
8. Could Humpback Whales Be Singing Grammatically?
9. Killer Whales Have Begun Preying On Sea Otters, Causing Disruption Of Coastal Ecosystems In Western Alaska
10. USGS Finds Sea Otters At Risk From Killer Whales In A Changing Ocean
11. Fish Love Songs/Whale Rhythms

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:9/12/2018)... ... September 10, 2018 , ... IONpathTM, ... of its new Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBITM) technology was accepted by the ... will also be shared during a webinar presented by Dr. Mike Angelo on ...
(Date:9/7/2018)... ... 06, 2018 , ... Sensors Midwest (#SensorsMW18), the ... Sensors Expo & Conference , announces their partnership with Fraunhofer USA Center for ... Enabled Industrial IoT Certification Program. Taking place on October 17, 2018 at the ...
(Date:8/31/2018)... , ... August 30, 2018 , ... ... residence times as a component of drug discovery programs. Longer-target engagement can result ... times are low throughput, require expensive instrumentation, or require the alteration of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/29/2018)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... August 28, 2018 , ... ... will be presenting the results of a safety study performed on an allogeneic ... North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association (NAVRMA) conference in September. He is ...
(Date:8/23/2018)... ... August 22, 2018 , ... Crucial Data ... 1st, making it the first fully-featured app for electronic data capture (EDC) and ... and Android constitute 99 percent of the market share for mobile devices worldwide; ...
(Date:8/17/2018)... CITY, Kan. (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2018 ... ... contract research organization (CRO) is pleased to announce the expansion of their team. ... Dufield was hired to launch an innovative large molecule LC-MS/MS group that will ...
(Date:8/14/2018)... (PRWEB) , ... August 14, 2018 , ... ... further impetus at the 11th Congress of the Chinese Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons ... event, Fule Science & Technology Development , Beijing, and Invibio Biomaterial ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: