With the start of a new year and a new semester, it’s time to welcome new and returning members of the Cammen Lab. This semester, Emma Newcomb, Sarah Burton, and Holland Haverkamp have returned to the lab to continue their research on marine mammal stranding rates in Maine. Kai LaSpina is continuing her research on genetic relatedness of mass stranded Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Sarah Vincze continues her Capstone literature review on the effects of HABs on bottlenose dolphins and is back in the lab, after a semester at the Darling Marine Center, to collaborate on various marine mammal genetics projects. Faythe Goins is preparing to defend her Honors thesis on loggerhead sea turtle nesting trends in South Carolina later this spring. This semester, we also welcome two new members: Emma Spies, a freshman UMaine Top Scholar, who will be initiating a project on immunogenetic diversity in gray and harbor seals, and Liz Piotrowski, who is starting her Capstone research on Atlantic white-sided dolphin sightings in the Gulf of Maine. It’s exciting to have a great group of students involved in our research and we all look forward to a productive semester! You can learn more about these students and opportunities to join the Cammen Lab here.
As a final project, this year’s INT308 (Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation) undergraduate students produced the inaugural Marine Mammals in the News online publication. From whales to manatees, from the Arctic to Mexico, from conservation to physiology, and much more – check out the stories they wrote, highlighting marine mammal science that has been published within the last year.
We are pleased to announce the recent publication of our study of genetic diversity among archaeological and contemporary gray and harbor seals from the Northwest Atlantic. In our paper, we describe finding greater genetic diversity in both seal populations prior to the bounties of the early and mid-1900s. We further present evidence that is consistent with the potential loss of a historical Maine subpopulation of gray seals. These findings are significant to the discussion of how to manage gray and harbor seals today as their populations recover along parts of Maine, Massachusetts, and the Canadian Maritimes.
The co-authors on this paper include undergraduate Sarah Vincze, graduate student Sky Heller, and professor Mike Kinnison from the University of Maine, as well as collaborators from NOAA NEFSC, Canada DFO, Tufts University, and St. Mary’s University. The project was enhanced by the diverse perspectives of geneticists, ecologists, field biologists, and archaeologists.
Our paper can be found here, or feel free to contact me directly for more information.
Cammen KM, Vincze S, Heller AS, McLeod BA, Wood SA, Bowen WD, Hammill MO, Puryear WB, Runstadler J, Wenzel FW, Kinnison M, Frasier TR (2018) Genetic diversity from bottleneck to recovery in two sympatric pinniped species in the Northwest Atlantic. Conservation Genetics. 19: 555-569.