Genetic Analysis as a Tool to Improve the Monitoring of Stranded Cetaceans in Chile

Kraft, Sebastian; Rodriguez, Francisca; Olavarria, Carlos; Poulin, Elie; Perez-Alvarez, Maria Jose


--- - Cetacean strandings are regularly recorded along the coast of Chile. However, crucial information such as species and sex of the individuals involved in these events can often be difficult to assess. In this context, the use of molecular tools as a complementary method can improve a stranding database, particularly by correcting misidentifications and providing new data for unidentified samples. This new information is especially important in the case of species that are poorly known or of high conservation interest. In this study, we evaluate how molecular tools can support and complement the field work records of strandings in Chile by identifying, corroborating, or correcting the identification of the species and sex of the recorded individuals. We obtained samples through a collaboration with the government agency that is in charge of assisting with cetacean strandings and collected the relevant information. Multidisciplinary approaches like this, and inter-institutional collaborations, can improve the study of cetacean strandings and the decisions in management and conservation policies around them. - Cetacean strandings are a valuable source of information for several studies from species richness to conservation and management. During the examination of strandings, taxonomic and sex identification might be hindered for several reasons. Molecular techniques are valuable tools to obtain that missing information. This study evaluates how gene fragment amplification protocols can support the records of strandings done in the field in Chile by identifying, corroborating, or correcting the identification of the species and sex of the recorded individuals. Through a collaboration between a scientific laboratory and government institution in Chile, 63 samples were analyzed. Thirty-nine samples were successfully identified to the species level. In total, 17 species of six families were detected, including six species of conservation interest. Of the 39 samples, 29 corresponded to corroborations of field identifications. Seven corresponded to unidentified samples and three to corrected misidentifications, adding up to 28% of the identified samples. Sex was successfully identified for 58 of the 63 individuals. Twenty were corroborations, 34 were previously unidentified, and four were corrections. Applying this method improves the stranding database of Chile and provides new data for future management and conservation tasks.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000995544600001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: BIOLOGY-BASEL
Volumen: 12
Número: 5
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2023


Notas: ISI