Associate Director of The Endowed Marine Mammal Institute
Recently appointed as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Heredity
Conservation genetics and molecular ecology of whales, dolphins and porpoises
Scott Baker is broadly interested in the evolution and ecology of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), including their abundance, population structure, genetic diversity and systematic relationships. Scott is particularly interested in projects that bring together both molecular and demographic approaches to improve the conservation of these species. The advent of molecular genetics and the emerging fields of genomics and bioinformatics have provided powerful new tools to describe the hierarchical structure of biodiversity. These tools complement and extend, rather than replace, demographic methods used in animal ecology and conservation biology.
Current Research Topics include:
• Population structure and genetic diversity of whales, dolphins, sea lions and fur seals
• Demographic and genetic impacts of whaling
• Molecular taxonomy and applied bioinformatics for species identification
• Molecular monitoring of ‘whalemeat’ markets in Japan and Korea
• Social organization and kinship in whales and dolphins
• The evolution of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes in cetaceans and pinniped
One of the recent initiatives of Scott’s research group has been to establish a web-based program for identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises using applied bioinformatics and a validated database of DNA sequences. Details are available at www.dna-surveillance.auckland.ac.nz. An exciting outcome of establishing this database was the discovery of a new species of beaked whales, Mesoplodon perrini (Dalebout et al. 2002) the first mammalian species recognized primarily by genetic characters and the first new species of cetacean in 15 years.
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2030 SE Marine Science Dr.
Newport, Oregon 97365
FW499/599 'Whales and whaling'
1985 PhD, Zoology and Animal Behavior & Ecology, University of Hawaii
1977 BA, Environmental Sciences, New College, University of Florida
Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama
Selected Publications (2007 only):
2007. Jackson, J.A., Patenaude, N. J., Carroll, E.L. and Baker, C.S. ‘How few whales were there? Inference from contemporary mtDNA diversity’. Molecular Ecology.
2007. Oremus M., Poole M.M., Steel D., Baker C.S. ‘Isolation and interchange among insular spinner dolphin communities in the South Pacific revealed by individual identification and genetic diversity’. Marine Ecology - Progress Series.
2007. Patenaude N, Portway V, Schaeff C., Bannister J., Best P., Payne R., Rowntree V., Rivarola M., Baker C.S. ‘Mitochondrial DNA diversity and population structure among southern right whales (Eubalaena australis)’. Journal of Heredity
2007. Baker, C.S., Cooke, J., Lavery, S., Dalebout, M.L., Ma, Y.-U., Funahashi, N., Carraher, C., Brownell-Jr., R.L. ‘Estimating the number of whales entering trade using DNA profiling and capture-recapture analysis of market products’. Molecular Ecology.
2007. Caballero, S., Trujillo, F., Vianna, J. A., Barrios-Garrido, H., Montiel, M. G., Beltran-Pedreros, S., Marmontel, M., Santos, M. C., Rossi, M., Santo, F. R., and Baker, C.S. ‘Taxonomic status of the genus Sotalia: species level ranking for “tucuxi” (Sotalia fluviatilis) and “costero” (Sotalia guianensis) dolphins’. Marine Mammal Science.
2007. Olavarría, C., Baker, C. S., Garrigue, C., Poole, M., Hauser, N., Caballero, S., Flórez-González, L., Brasseur, M., Bannister, J., Capella, J., Clapham, P. J., Dodemont, R., Donoghue, M., Jenner, C., Jenner, M. N., Moro, D., Oremus, M., Paton, D. A. & Russell, K. ‘Population structure of humpback whales throughout the South Pacific and the origins of the eastern Polynesian breeding grounds’. Marine Ecology – Progress Series