Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Manatee Subspecies Genetically Confirmed, but Diversity Challenge Looms - Science Daily

photo credit iStockphoto & Yuko Hirao

It's official - the world now has a newly documented species of manatee - yay! Honestly, who doesn't love these guys?

Manatees living in Florida were genetically compared with those living in Belize, and the two populations were found to be separate genetic subspecies.

But with the good news comes some bad - the newly recognized Belizean subspecies has low genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is important to help stabilize a population should disease or natural disasters sweep through the area the manatees are living in and kill off individuals. A wide range of genes is needed to keep a population healthy and able to breed successful offspring.

So I welcome the newly discovered subspecies to the recognized world...but let's hit the ground running on this one and help pull the Antillean manatees of Belize back to a healthy population!

Full article here (Science Daily)

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