Genetics & evolutionary history of dugongs in New Caledonia


Conservation genetics and evolutionary history of dugongs in New Caledonia

In order to protect vulnerable species, it is necessary to build some knowledge on the status of threatened populations. Because of its open marine habitat and its capability for large-scale movements, the dugong (Dugong dugon) is a species that is difficult to study. What are the boundaries of the populations and are they reproductively connected with populations from neighbour areas? Answering these questions is crucial to assess the impact of poaching and other human induced mortalities. Genetics provide a unique opportunity to address these questions. Therefore, Opération Cétacés has recently conducted the first molecular study to establish the level of genetic diversity of dugongs in New Caledonia and their connectivity with large populations from Australia.

Genetic analyses for this project were conducted at the French research institute IRD, based at Nouméa, in collaboration with the Dr Claude Payri of the Coreus Department. This project is financially supported by the “Service de la mer de la Province Sud”, under a convention with Opération Cétacés.

More to come...


Dugong tusk used for genetic experiments


Project funded by Province Sud, New Caledonia

We’re pleased to be receiving support from Australian canned tuna brand Greenseas, to assist us with our dugong research.  For more information about how Greenseas is helping, click here