Subject: ABSTRACT: Population structure of sperm whales (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 18 May 1998 15:44:51 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 13:38:43 +0000
From: Hal Whitehead/Linda Weilgart <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: ABSTRACT: Population structure of sperm whales

From: Hal Whitehead (

Here is the abstract of a recent paper.  We have not yet
received reprints, but we can send copies when we get them, if anyone is

Whitehead, H., M. Dillon, S. Dufault, L. Weilgart and J. Wright. 1998.
Non-geographically based population structure of South Pacific sperm
whales: dialects, fluke-markings and genetics.  Journal of Animal
Ecology 67: 253-262.

1. This study addresses the issue of structure in sperm whale
(Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus) populations and whether it is
geographically based.

2. During a survey around the South Pacific Ocean, we collected
sloughed skin for genetic analyses, recorded coda vocalizations, and
photographed fluke markings.

3.  Groups of female and immature sperm whales had characteristic
mitochondrial haplotypes, coda repertoires, and fluke-mark patterns,
but there was no clear geographical structure in any of these

4.  However, similarities of coda repertoire and mitochondrial
haplotype distribution were significantly correlated among pairs of
groups in a manner that was not geographically based.  There was
also a significant canonical correlation coefficient between coda
repertoire and fluke-mark patterns.

5.  These results suggest that attributes (such as vocal repertoire
and techniques of predator defence) which are acquired matrilineally,
and probably culturally, are conserved during the fission and
dispersal of groups.