Myth or relict: does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal?

Salis, Alexander T., Easton, Luke J., Robertson, Bruce C., Gemmell, Neil, Smith, Ian W. G., Weisler, Marshall I., Waters, Jonathan M. and Rawlence, Nicolas J. (2016) Myth or relict: does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal?. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 97 101-106. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.12.012

Author Salis, Alexander T.
Easton, Luke J.
Robertson, Bruce C.
Gemmell, Neil
Smith, Ian W. G.
Weisler, Marshall I.
Waters, Jonathan M.
Rawlence, Nicolas J.
Title Myth or relict: does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal?
Journal name Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1095-9513
Publication date 2016-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.12.012
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 97
Start page 101
End page 106
Total pages 6
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The biological status of the so-called 'Upland seal' has remained contentious ever since historical records described a distinct seal from the uplands of New Zealand's (NZ) remote sub-Antarctic islands. Subsequent genetic surveys of the NZ fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) detected two highly-divergent mtDNA clades, hypothesized to represent a post-sealing hybrid swarm between 'mainland' (Australia-NZ; A. forsteri) and sub-Antarctic (putative 'Upland'; A. snaresensis) lineages. We present ancient-DNA analyses of prehistoric mainland NZ and sub-Antarctic fur seals, revealing that both of these genetic lineages were already widely distributed across the region at the time of human arrival. These findings indicate that anthropogenic factors did not contribute to the admixture of these lineages, and cast doubt on the validity of the Upland seal. Human-mediated impacts on Arctocephalus genetic diversity are instead highlighted by a dramatic temporal haplotype frequency-shift due to genetic drift in heavily bottlenecked populations following the cessation of industrial-scale harvesting. These extinction-recolonisation dynamics add to a growing picture of human-mediated change in NZ's coastal and marine ecosystems.
Keyword Ancient-DNA
Arctocephalus forsteri
Fur seal
Human impact
Arctocephalus snaresensis
Upland seal
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Social Science Publications
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