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Genetic Dispersal Patterns in Cetaceans: The Development of Dolphin, Whale, and Porpoise Subpopulations
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Population genetics is the study of allelic distributions and frequency changes in populations. It has been used to assess dispersal patterns within cetaceans. A literature review was conducted on dispersal patterns and population genetics to determine dispersal patterns such as sex-biased dispersal, philopatry, and subpopulations. The papers were examined for theories behind dispersal patterns. It has been found that populations are highly subdivided in small areas, with female philopatry. Even with female philopatry, there was no sex-biased dispersal in cetaceans. It was expected that distance would determine dispersal patterns in cetaceans, but this was not always true as illustrated by species with discretely different sub-populations within 30km of each other. It was found that oceanographic barriers, prey specialization, and social structure were thought to effect dispersal patterns the most.