Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6705
Title: Diet and mitochondrial DNA haplotype of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) found dead off Jurong Island, Singapore
Authors: CHUA AIK HWEE MARCUS 
DAVID J.W. LANE
Ooi Seng Keat 
TAY HUI XIN SERENE 
TSUNEMI KUBODERA
Keywords: Stomach contents, Cephalopod, Hydrodynamic modelling, Population genetics, Prey, Plastic, Pyrosoma, Indo-pacific
Issue Date: 5-Apr-2019
Publisher: PeerJ
Citation: CHUA AIK HWEE MARCUS, DAVID J.W. LANE, Ooi Seng Keat, TAY HUI XIN SERENE, TSUNEMI KUBODERA (2019-04-05). Diet and mitochondrial DNA haplotype of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) found dead off Jurong Island, Singapore. PeerJ 7 : 1-17. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6705
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Abstract: Despite numerous studies across the large geographic range of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), little is known about the diet and mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of this strongly female philopatric species in waters off Southeast Asia. A female sperm whale found dead in Singapore waters provided the opportunity to study her diet and mitochondrial DNA haplotype. Here we report on the identification of stomach contents and mitochondrial DNA haplotype of this individual, and we include coastal hydrodynamic modelling to determine the possible geographic origin of the whale. At least 28 species of prey were eaten by this adult female whale, most of which were cephalopods. The mesopelagic squids Taonius pavo, Histioteuthis pacifica, Chiroteuthis imperator,and Ancistrocheirus lesueurii made up over 65% of the whale’s stomach contents. Plastic debris was also found in the whale’s stomach. Based on the diet, genetics, and coastal hydrodynamic modelling that suggest an easterly drift of the whale carcass over several days, the dead sperm whale in Singapore probably originated from a pod in the Southern Indian Ocean. This study provides an increase in the understanding the diet and natural history of the sperm whale in Southeast Asia. The combined analyses of stomach contents, DNA, and hydrodynamic modeling could provide a context to future studies on the sperm whale strandings, and have broader applicability for other marine mammals in the region.
Source Title: PeerJ
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/152976
ISSN: 2167-8359
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6705
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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