Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 50(3): 453-464


Population genetic structure of the South American Bryde’s whale

Luis A. Pastene1, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2, Salvatore Siciliano3, Thais G.C. Sholl3, Jailson F. de Moura3,4, Paulo Henrique Ott5 and Anelio Aguayo-Lobo6

1Institute of Cetacean Research, Toyomi 4-5, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0055, Japan
2Centro de Estudios del Cuaternario Fuego-Patagonia y Antártica (Fundación CEQUA), 21 de Mayo 1690, Punta Arenas, Chile
3Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/FIOCRUZ, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões, 1480 - 6o. andar, sala 611 & Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Marinhos da Região dos Lagos (GEMM-Lagos), Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 21041-210, Brazil
4Systems Ecology, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359, Bremen, Germany
5Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Sul (UERGS) and Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul (GEMARS), Av. Tramandai, 976, Imbé, Rio Grande do Sul, RS 95625-000, Brazil
6Instituto Antártico Chileno, Plaza Muñoz Gamero 1055, Punta Arenas, Chile

 emailButton This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


A genetic analysis based on mitochondrial DNA control region sequences was conducted to investigate both species identity and populations genetic structure of South American Bryde’s whales. The genetic analysis was based on historical, biopsy and stranding samples from Chile (n= 10) and Brazil (n= 8). For comparative purposes published sequences of the Bryde’s whales from different localities of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (including Peru, n= 24) were incorporated into the analysis. Results of the phylogenetic analysis identified the Bryde’s whales of South America as Balaenoptera brydei. No statistically significant genetic differentiation was found between Chilean and Peruvian Bryde’s whales. However, striking differences were found between western South Atlantic (Brazil) and eastern South Pacific (Peru and Chile) animals. In addition, striking genetic differences were found between all South American localities and those from the western North Pacific, Fiji and Java. These results suggest movement of B. brydei in the eastern South Pacific in the latitudinal range corresponding to Chile and Peru. These results also suggest no or very limited movement of whales between the South Pacific and the South Atlantic Oceans. This is consistent with the notion that B. brydei is not distributed further south of approximately 40ºS on both sides of South America.

Key words:  Balaenoptera brydei, mitochondrial DNA, eastern South Pacific, western South Atlantic