UW Aquatic & Fishery Sciences Quantitative Seminar

Jurjan van der Zee

University of Groningen

Integrating population genetics into the management of the North Atlantic common minke whale: estimating critical dispersal rates for genetic simulations


The integration of populations in the management of species with high dispersal potential is limited by the poor performance of detecting genetic stock structure when gene flow is high and the mismatch between the ability to detect genetic stock structure and the dispersal level at which stocks become demographically correlated. Evaluating if population genetics is useful from a management perspective therefore depends on 1) determining “critical” dispersal rates between stocks using demographic simulations and 2) use these estimates to evaluate the performance of population genetics using genetic simulations. This methodology was applied as part of North Atlantic common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) management implementation review for the International Whaling Commission (IWC). We have evaluated the performance of two management strategies under a range of stock structure hypotheses using the RMP/AWMPlite framework to identify possible problematic stock structure hypotheses under the assumption of no dispersal between stocks, defining a stock structure hypothesis as problematic if the value for lower 95th quantile of the final depletion of a harvested stock is lower than 0.6 * MSY. “Critical dispersal rates” were estimated for these cases, which reflect the amount of dispersal required for stock structure hypotheses to no longer be considered problematic. We conclude that for only the most extreme stock structure hypothesis it is necessary to determine critical dispersal rates. These dispersal rates will be used for subsequent genetic simulations.

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