Marine mammals with some portion of their lifecycle in California include twenty-five cetacean, seven pinniped, and one mustelid taxa. California populations of most marine mammals have been more heavily impacted by hunting and show a loss of genetic variation as measured by heterozygosity in comparison to the more northern populations, which did not suffer as much exploitation. Low levels of genetic differentiation along the eastern Pacific Coast are present in Enhydra lutris and most cetaceans due to their high rates of dispersal. However, some taxa, such as Eumetopias jubatus, are differentiated into eastern Pacific stock and Asian/western Pacific stocks at about 144°W and should continue to be managed as separate units. Other species, such as Phocoenoides dalli and Zalophus californicus, are latitudinally structured along the coast due to female philopatry and should continue to be managed as separate populations to conserve genetic diversity. Unfortunately, there are inadequate data on cetaceans; the IUCN Red List of threatened species estimates that 56 percent of the members of the Dephinidae (oceanic dolphins) and 75 percent of Ziphiidae (beaked whales) are considered data deficient.
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