An overview of the genetic studies on stock structure based on biopsy samples obtained by the IWC-POWER program and preliminary suggestions for sampling and analyses in the future
Luis A. Pastene, Koji Matsuoka and Hideyoshi Yoshida
International Whaling Commission
During its last meeting in January 2020 the IWC-POWER???s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made the following recommendation: ???Develop summary overview paper of results of genetic studies that have included data from IWC-POWER and develop proposal for additional analyses of genetic data, including those from IWC-POWER, to infer inter alia stock structure discussions to medium-term plans???. This paper was prepared in response to such recommendation. An important number of biopsy samples from different whale species have been collected between 2010 and 2019. In this period, biopsy samples have been successfully collected from the most sighted species (fin, sei, Bryde???s and humpback whales). However, the number of samples has been limited in the case of rare species such as gray, blue and right whales, and for low priority species such as common minke, sperm and killer whales. Genetic analyses on stock structure based on IWC-POWER samples have been conducted only on Bryde???s, sei and North Pacific right whales, and as a result of the analyses, plausible hypotheses on stock structure have been proposed for these species. In fact these hypotheses have contributed to the ongoing IWC SC in-depth assessment of North Pacific sei whale and to the completed Implementation Review of western North Pacific Bryde???s whale. This paper present a review of the genetic analyses conducted and offer preliminary suggestions for future sampling and genetic analyses for all species sampled under the IWC-POWER program.