Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Conservation genetics without knowing what to conserve: the case of the Baltic harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9286-3361
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3342-8479
2008 (English)In: Oryx, ISSN 0030-6053, E-ISSN 1365-3008, Vol. 42, no 2, 305-308 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Effective conservation requires that arguments for identifying units for preservation and management are based on scientifically sound information. There is a strong conservation concern for the harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena of the Baltic Sea. This concern rests on the assumption that these porpoises represent a genetically distinct population reproductively separated from adjacent populations to the west. We argue that current scientific support for this claim is weak and to a large degree speculative. Current management of Baltic harbour porpoises as a genetically separate conservation unit is premature and we urge that high priority be given towards resolving this issue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 42, no 2, 305-308 p.
Keyword [en]
Baltic Sea, management units, marine environment, Phocoena phocoena, spatial genetic structure
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-14716DOI: 10.1017/S0030605308006960ISI: 000256127900025OAI: diva2:181236
Available from: 2008-10-28 Created: 2008-10-28 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Assessing and monitoring genetic patterns for conservation purposes with special emphasis on Scandinavia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing and monitoring genetic patterns for conservation purposes with special emphasis on Scandinavia
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Genetic variation is essential for biological evolution, for maintaining viability of populations, and to ensure ecosystem resilience. Increased human exploitation and environmental change result in rapid loss of biological variation, including genetic diversity. Measures to halt this trend require that biological diversity is assessed and monitored. Assessment of biodiversity includes identifying patterns of distribution of genetic variation within individual species.

This thesis focuses on spatial genetic structure and assessment of units for conservation in continuous environments without apparent migration barriers. Empirical data refer to Scandinavia and the model species are northern pike (Esox lucius), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Questions regarding monitoring genetic diversity and releases of alien populations are also addressed.

 The spatial genetic structure of the northern pike in the Baltic Sea is characterized by isolation by distance and continuous genetic change. Positive genetic correlation was found among pike within geographical distances of less than 150 km. This distance may be used to suggest management units in this area. For the brown trout, genetic monitoring identified two sympatric populations within a small mountain lake system. The situation is characterized by a clear genetic but no apparent phenotypic dichotomy. Scientific support for a genetically distinct Baltic harbour porpoise population is limited, and the spatial genetic structure of the harbour porpoise in Swedish waters needs to be clarified.

Data for launching conservation genetic monitoring programs is available for only a few Swedish species. Millions of forest trees, fish, and birds are released annually in Sweden and the documentation on these releases is poor. To meet responsibilities of safeguarding biodiversity and surveying biological effects of releases, there is an urgent need for studies aimed at evaluating genetic diversity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2010. 61 p.
biological diversity, conservation genetics, management unit, spatial genetic structure, sympatric populations, genetic monitoring, release of alien populations, northern pike, brown trout, harbour porpoise
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Genetics
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42942 (URN)978-91-7447-130-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-11-12, De Geer-salen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Available from: 2010-10-21 Created: 2010-09-20 Last updated: 2010-10-15Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Palmé, AnnaLaikre, LindaRyman, Nils
By organisation
Department of Zoology
In the same journal
Natural Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 260 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link