M.A. Theses: Cara Halseth, 2015


Reconstructing Northern Fur Seal Population Diversity through Ancient and Modern DNA Data



Archaeological and historic evidence suggests that northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus)  has undergone several population and distribution changes (including commercial sealing)  potentially resulting in a loss of genetic diversity and population structure. This study analyzes 36 unpublished mtDNA sequences from archaeological sites 1900 - 150 BP along the Pacific Northwest Coast from Moss et al. (2006) as well as published data (primarily Pinsky et al. [2010]) to investigate this species’ genetic diversity and population genetics in the past.

The D-loop data shows high nucleotide and haplotype diversity, with continuity of two separate sub-divisions (haplogroups) through time. Nucleotide mismatch analysis suggests population expansion in both ancient and modern data. AMOVA analysis (FST and ΦST) reveals some ‘structure’ detectable between several archaeological sites. While the data reviewed here did not reveal dramatic patterning, the AMOVA analysis does identify several significant FST values, indicating some level of population ‘structure’, which deserves future study.