Global Dugong Genetics Project

Executive Summary: 

The Global Dugong Genetics Project aims to examine the phylogeography of the dugong based on historical samples from throughout the dugong’s range. It will update conservation and management actions through mapping the distribution of discrete dugong populations; identifying historical and potential migratory routes; and highlighting small populations as a priority for conservation. The Project was a collaboration between James Cook University and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.



From 2011–2013 genetic sampling took place and from 2013–2015 analysis was undertaken. To date, a total of 217 samples of dugongs held in European museum collections have been analysed to reveal the population genetic structure of the dugong throughout its range. The results will be disseminated in the form of a scientific paper that is currently pending publication.

The Secretariat would like to encourage the collection and stockpiling of genetic samples so that when financial and technical resources become available, a comprehensive analysis can be conducted.  Stockpiling genetic samples is important to mitigate the issues associated with collecting contemporary samples due to the scarcity, low numbers, and relative inaccessibility of dugongs. Protocols for collecting genetic samples are available in the genetics advice from James Cook University. The CMS Dugong MOU Secretariat can assist in the coordination of stockpiling genetic samples upon request.





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Implementing AgencyJames Cook University/ Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Collaborating agenciesCMS Dugong MOU

Activity start dateJuly 2011
Activity end dateDecember 2013
CMS AppendixAppendix II
Taxonomic groupMarine mammals
Target regionAfrica
Indian Ocean
South Pacific
South-East Asia
South-West Asia
Final technical reportNo

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