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1.  Niche Conservatism and the Future Potential Range of Epipactis helleborine (Orchidaceae) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77352.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the current distribution of suitable niches for the invasive orchid species, Epipactis helleborine, and to estimate the possibility of its further expansion. Moreover, niche modeling tools were used to explain its rapid expansion in North America and to test the niche conservatism of the species. The maximum entropy method was used to create models of the suitable niche distribution. A database of E. helleborine localities was prepared based on the examination of herbarium specimens, information from electronic databases as well as data gathered during field works. The differences between the niches occupied by native and invasive populations were evaluated using the niche overlap and niche identity test indexes. Moreover, the coverage of the most suitable habitats for the species was measured for three future scenarios as well as for the present time model. Populations of E. helleborine occupy North American west coast habitats very similar to those preferred by native, Eurasian populations, while the expansion in the east coast is related to the niche shift. The created models of suitable niche distribution indicate that the species does not realize its potential niche in the native range. The total surface of the habitats potentially available for E. helleborine will decrease in all climate change scenarios created for 2080.
PMCID: PMC3797094  PMID: 24143222
2.  Persistence and dispersal in a Southern Hemisphere glaciated landscape: the phylogeography of the spotted snow skink (Niveoscincus ocellatus) in Tasmania 
The aim of this research was to identify the effects of Pleistocene climate change on the distribution of fauna in Tasmania, and contrast this with biotic responses in other temperate regions in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere that experienced glacial activity during this epoch. This was achieved by examining the phylogeographic patterns in a widely distributed Tasmanian endemic reptile, Niveoscincus ocellatus. 204 individuals from 29 populations across the distributional range of N. ocellatus were surveyed for variation at two mitochondrial genes (ND2, ND4), and two nuclear genes (β-globin, RPS8). Phylogenetic relationships were reconstructed using a range of methods (maximum parsimony, Bayesian inference and haplotype networks), and the demographic histories of populations were assessed (AMOVA, Tajima’s D, Fu’s Fs, mismatch distributions, extended Bayesian skyline plots, and relaxed random walk analyses).
There was a high degree of mitochondrial haplotype diversity (96 unique haplotypes) and phylogeographic structure, where spatially distinct groups were associated with Tasmania’s Northeast and a large area covering Southeast and Central Tasmania. Phylogeographic structure was also present within each major group, but the degree varied regionally, being highest in the Northeast. Only the Southeastern group had a signature of demographic expansion, occurring during the Pleistocene but post-dating the Last Glacial Maximum. In contrast, nuclear DNA had low levels of variation and a lack of phylogeographic structure, and further loci should be surveyed to corroborate the mitochondrial inferences.
The phylogeographic patterns of N. ocellatus indicate Pleistocene range and demographic expansion in N. ocellatus, particularly in the Southeast and Central areas of Tasmania. Expansion in Central and Southeastern areas appears to have been more recent in both demographic and spatial contexts, than in Northeast Tasmania, which is consistent with inferences for other taxa of greater stability and persistence in Northeast Tasmania during the Last Glacial Maximum. These phylogeographic patterns indicate contrasting demographic histories of populations in close proximity to areas directly affected by glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere during the LGM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0397-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4482293  PMID: 26111715
Glacial refugia; Pleistocene; Tasmania; Phylogeography; Reptile; Recolonisation
3.  Contrasting evolutionary histories of the legless lizards slow worms (Anguis) shaped by the topography of the Balkan Peninsula 
Genetic architecture of a species is a result of historical changes in population size and extent of distribution related to climatic and environmental factors and contemporary processes of dispersal and gene flow. Population-size and range contractions, expansions and shifts have a substantial effect on genetic diversity and intraspecific divergence, which is further shaped by gene-flow limiting barriers. The Balkans, as one of the most important sources of European biodiversity, is a region where many temperate species persisted during the Pleistocene glaciations and where high topographic heterogeneity offers suitable conditions for local adaptations of populations. In this study, we investigated the phylogeographical patterns and demographic histories of four species of semifossorial slow-worm lizards (genus Anguis) present in the Balkan Peninsula, and tested the relationship between genetic diversity and topographic heterogeneity of the inhabited ranges.
We inferred phylogenetic relationships, compared genetic structure and historical demography of slow worms using nucleotide sequence variation of mitochondrial DNA. Four Anguis species with mostly parapatric distributions occur in the Balkan Peninsula. They show different levels of genetic diversity. A signature of population growth was detected in all four species but with various courses in particular populations. We found a strong correlation between genetic diversity of slow-worm populations and topographic ruggedness of the ranges (mountain systems) they inhabit. Areas with more rugged terrain harbour higher genetic diversity.
Phylogeographical pattern of the genus Anguis in the Balkans is concordant with the refugia-within-refugia model previously proposed for both several other taxa in the region and other main European Peninsulas. While slow-worm populations from the southern refugia mostly have restricted distributions and have not dispersed much from their refugial areas, populations from the extra-Mediterranean refugia in northern parts of the Balkans have colonized vast areas of eastern, central, and western Europe. Besides climatic historical events, the heterogeneous topography of the Balkans has also played an important role in shaping genetic diversity of slow worms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-016-0669-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4863322  PMID: 27165497
Anguidae; Squamata; Phylogeography; Biogeography; Speciation; Contact zones; Microrefugia; Balkan mountains
4.  Persistence across Pleistocene ice ages in Mediterranean and extra-Mediterranean refugia: phylogeographic insights from the common wall lizard 
Pleistocene climatic oscillations have played a major role in structuring present-day biodiversity. The southern Mediterranean peninsulas have long been recognized as major glacial refugia, from where Northern Europe was post-glacially colonized. However, recent studies have unravelled numerous additional refugia also in northern regions. We investigated the phylogeographic pattern of the widespread Western Palaearctic lizard Podarcis muralis, using a range-wide multilocus approach, to evaluate whether it is concordant with a recent expansion from southern glacial refugia or alternatively from a combination of Mediterranean and northern refugia.
We analyzed DNA sequences of two mitochondrial (cytb and nd4) and three nuclear (acm4, mc1r, and pdc) gene fragments in individuals from 52 localities across the species range, using phylogenetic and phylogeographic methods. The complex phylogeographic pattern observed, with 23 reciprocally monophyletic allo- parapatric lineages having a Pleistocene divergence, suggests a scenario of long-term isolation in multiple ice-age refugia across the species distribution range. Multiple lineages were identified within the three Mediterranean peninsulas – Iberia, Italy and the Balkans - where the highest genetic diversity was observed. Such an unprecedented phylogeographic pattern - here called “refugia within all refugia” – compasses the classical scenario of multiple southern refugia. However, unlike the southern refugia model, various distinct lineages were also found in northern regions, suggesting that additional refugia in France, Northern Italy, Eastern Alps and Central Balkans allowed the long-term persistence of this species throughout Pleistocene glaciations.
The phylogeography of Podarcis muralis provides a paradigm of temperate species survival in Mediterranean and extra-Mediterranean glacial refugia. Such refugia acted as independent biogeographic compartments for the long-term persistence of this species, for the differentiation of its genetic lineages, and for the short-distance post-glacial re-colonization of neighbouring areas. This finding echoes previous findings from recent phylogeographic studies on species from temperate ecoregions, thus suggesting the need for a reappraisal of the role of northern refugia for glacial persistence and post-glacial assembly of Holarctic biota.
PMCID: PMC3711914  PMID: 23841475
Podarcis muralis; Phylogeography; Western Palaearctic; Glacial refugia; Mediterranean peninsulas; Genetic diversity; Temperate species
5.  Pleistocene Niche Stability and Lineage Diversification in the Subtropical Spider Araneus omnicolor (Araneidae) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0121543.
The influence of Quaternary climate oscillations on the diversification of the South American fauna is being increasingly explored. However, most of these studies have focused on taxa that are endemic to tropical environments, and relatively few have treated organisms restricted to subtropical biomes. Here we used an integrative phylogeographical framework to investigate the effects of these climate events on the ecological niche and genetic patterns of the subtropical orb-weaver spider Araneus omnicolor (Araneidae). We analyzed the mitochondrial (Cytochrome Oxidase I, COI) and nuclear (Internal Transcribed Subunit II, ITS2) DNA of 130 individuals throughout the species’ range, and generated distribution models in three different climate scenarios [present, Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and Last Interglacial Maximum (LIG)]. Additionally, we used an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) approach to compare possible demographic scenarios and select the hypothesis that better explains the genetic patterns of A. omnicolor. We obtained high haplotype diversity but low nucleotide variation among sequences. The population structure and demographic analyses showed discrepancies between markers, suggesting male-biased dispersal in the species. The time-calibrated COI phylogenetic inference showed a recent diversification of lineages (Middle/Late Pleistocene), while the paleoclimate modeling indicated niche stability since ~120 Kya. The ABC results agreed with the niche models, supporting a panmictic population as the most likely historical scenario for the species. These results indicate that A. omnicolor experienced no niche or population reductions during the Late Pleistocene, despite the intense landscape modifications that occurred in the subtropical region, and that other factors beside LGM and LIG climate oscillations might have contributed to the demographic history of this species. This pattern may be related to the high dispersal ability and wide environmental tolerance of A. omnicolor, highlighting the need for more phylogeographical studies with invertebrates and other generalist taxa, in order to understand the effects of Quaternary climate changes on Neotropical biodiversity.
PMCID: PMC4391720  PMID: 25856149
6.  A glacial survivor of the alpine Mediterranean region: phylogenetic and phylogeographic insights into Silene ciliata Pourr. (Caryophyllaceae) 
PeerJ  2015;3:e1193.
Silene ciliata Pourr. (Caryophyllaceae) is a species with a highly disjunct distribution which inhabits the alpine mountains of the Mediterranean Basin. We investigated the phylogeny and phylogeography of the species to (a) clarify the long-suggested division of S. ciliata into two subspecies, (b) evaluate its phylogenetic origin and (c) assess whether the species’ diversification patterns were affected by the Mediterranean relief. For this purpose, we collected DNA from 25 populations of the species that inhabit the mountains of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece and studied the plastid regions rbcL, rps16 and trnL. Major intraspecific variation was supported by all analyses, while the possibility of the existence of more varieties or subspecies was not favoured. Plastid DNA (cpDNA) evidence was in accordance with the division of S. ciliata into the two subspecies, one spreading west (Iberian Peninsula and Central Massif) and the other east of the Alps region (Italian and Balkan Peninsula). This study proposes that the species’ geographically disconnected distribution has probably derived from vicariance processes and from the Alps acting as a barrier to the species’ dispersal. The monophyletic origin of the species is highly supported. cpDNA patterns were shown independent of the chromosome evolution in the populations and could have resulted from a combination of geographic factors providing links and barriers, climatic adversities and evolutionary processes that took place during Quaternary glaciations.
PMCID: PMC4548490  PMID: 26312184
Silene ciliata; Mediterranean Basin; cpDNA markers; Pleistocene glaciations; Phylogeography; Phylogeny; Alpine plant; Subspecies; Silene genus
7.  The evolution of floral deception in Epipactis veratrifolia (Orchidaceae): from indirect defense to pollination 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:63.
It is estimated that floral deception has evolved in at least 7500 species of angiosperms, of which two thirds are orchids. Epipactis veratrifolia (Orchidaceae) is a model system of aphid mimicry as aphidophagous hoverflies lay eggs on false brood sites on their flowers. To understand the evolutionary ecology of floral deception, we investigated the pollination biology of E. veratrifolia across 10 populations in the Eastern Himalayas. We reconstructed the phylogeny of Epipactis and mapped the known pollination systems of previously studied species onto the tree.
Some inflorescences of E. veratrifolia were so infested with aphids while they were still in bud that the some larvae of hoverflies developed to the third instar while flower buds opened. This indicated that adult female hoverflies were partly rewarded for oviposition. Although flowers failed to secrete nectar, they mimicked both alarm pheromones and aphid coloring of to attract female hoverflies as their exclusive pollinators. Phylogenetic mapping indicate that pollination by aphidophagous hoverflies is likely an ancestral condition in the genus Epipactis. We suggest that the biological interaction of aphid (prey), orchid (primary producer) and hoverfly (predator) may represent an intermediate stage between mutualism and deception in the evolution of pollination-by-deceit in E. veratrifolia.
Our analyses indicate that this intermediate stage may be used as a model system to interpret the origin of oviposition (brood site) mimicry in Epipactis. We propose the hypothesis that some deceptive pollination systems evolved directly from earlier (partly) mutualistic systems that maintained the fidelity of the original pollinator(s) even though rewards (nectar/ brood site) were lost.
PMCID: PMC4007573  PMID: 24621377
Anther cap; Aphids; Floral mimicry; Hoverflies; Intermediate stage; Pollinator
8.  Alpine Crossroads or Origin of Genetic Diversity? Comparative Phylogeography of Two Sympatric Microgastropod Species 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37089.
The Alpine Region, constituting the Alps and the Dinaric Alps, has played a major role in the formation of current patterns of biodiversity either as a contact zone of postglacial expanding lineages or as the origin of genetic diversity. In our study, we tested these hypotheses for two widespread, sympatric microgastropod taxa – Carychium minimum O.F. Müller, 1774 and Carychium tridentatum (Risso, 1826) (Gastropoda, Eupulmonata, Carychiidae) – by using COI sequence data and species potential distribution models analyzed in a statistical phylogeographical framework. Additionally, we examined disjunct transatlantic populations of those taxa from the Azores and North America. In general, both Carychium taxa demonstrate a genetic structure composed of several differentiated haplotype lineages most likely resulting from allopatric diversification in isolated refugial areas during the Pleistocene glacial periods. However, the genetic structure of Carychium minimum is more pronounced, which can be attributed to ecological constraints relating to habitat proximity to permanent bodies of water. For most of the Carychium lineages, the broader Alpine Region was identified as the likely origin of genetic diversity. Several lineages are endemic to the broader Alpine Region whereas a single lineage per species underwent a postglacial expansion to (re)colonize previously unsuitable habitats, e.g. in Northern Europe. The source populations of those expanding lineages can be traced back to the Eastern and Western Alps. Consequently, we identify the Alpine Region as a significant ‘hot-spot’ for the formation of genetic diversity within European Carychium lineages. Passive dispersal via anthropogenic means best explains the presence of transatlantic European Carychium populations on the Azores and in North America. We conclude that passive (anthropogenic) transport could mislead the interpretation of observed phylogeographical patterns in general.
PMCID: PMC3351404  PMID: 22606334
9.  Phylogeography and demographic history of Lacerta lepida in the Iberian Peninsula: multiple refugia, range expansions and secondary contact zones 
The Iberian Peninsula is recognized as an important refugial area for species survival and diversification during the climatic cycles of the Quaternary. Recent phylogeographic studies have revealed Iberia as a complex of multiple refugia. However, most of these studies have focused either on species with narrow distributions within the region or species groups that, although widely distributed, generally have a genetic structure that relates to pre-Quaternary cladogenetic events. In this study we undertake a detailed phylogeographic analysis of the lizard species, Lacerta lepida, whose distribution encompasses the entire Iberian Peninsula. We attempt to identify refugial areas, recolonization routes, zones of secondary contact and date demographic events within this species.
Results support the existence of 6 evolutionary lineages (phylogroups) with a strong association between genetic variation and geography, suggesting a history of allopatric divergence in different refugia. Diversification within phylogroups is concordant with the onset of the Pleistocene climatic oscillations. The southern regions of several phylogroups show a high incidence of ancestral alleles in contrast with high incidence of recently derived alleles in northern regions. All phylogroups show signs of recent demographic and spatial expansions. We have further identified several zones of secondary contact, with divergent mitochondrial haplotypes occurring in narrow zones of sympatry.
The concordant patterns of spatial and demographic expansions detected within phylogroups, together with the high incidence of ancestral haplotypes in southern regions of several phylogroups, suggests a pattern of contraction of populations into southern refugia during adverse climatic conditions from which subsequent northern expansions occurred. This study supports the emergent pattern of multiple refugia within Iberia but adds to it by identifying a pattern of refugia coincident with the southern distribution limits of individual evolutionary lineages. These areas are important in terms of long-term species persistence and therefore important areas for conservation.
PMCID: PMC3141430  PMID: 21682856
10.  Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of the Eurasiatic orchid genus Himantoglossum s.l. (Orchidaceae) 
Annals of Botany  2014;114(8):1609-1626.
Background and Aims
Lizard orchids of the genus Himantoglossum include many of Eurasia's most spectacular orchids, producing substantial spikes of showy flowers. However, until recently the genus had received only limited, and entirely traditional, systematic study. The aim of the current work was to provide a more robust molecular phylogeny in order to better understand the evolutionary relationships among species of particular conservation concern.
All putative species of Himantoglossum s.l. were sampled across its geographical range. A large subsample of the 153 populations studied contributed to an initial survey of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (nrITS) ribotypes. Smaller subsets were then sequenced for four plastid regions and the first intron of the low-copy-number nuclear gene LEAFY. Rooted using Steveniella as outgroup, phylogenetic trees were generated using parsimony and Bayesian methods from each of the three datasets, supplemented with a ribotype network.
Key Results
The resulting trees collectively determined the order of branching of the early divergent taxa as Himantoglossum comperianum > H. robertianum group > H. formosum, events that also involved significant morphological divergence. Relaxed molecular clock dating suggested that these divergences preceded the Pleistocene glaciations (the origin of the H. robertianum group may have coincided with the Messinian salinity crisis) and occurred in Asia Minor and/or the Caucasus. Among more controversial taxa of the H. hircinum-jankae clade, which are only subtly morphologically divergent, topological resolution was poorer and topological incongruence between datasets was consequently greater.
Plastid sequence divergence is broadly consistent with prior, morphologically circumscribed taxa and indicates a division between H. hircinum–adriaticum to the west of the Carpathians and H. jankae–caprinum (plus local endemics) to the east, a distinction also suggested by nrITS ribotypes. LEAFY phylogenies are less congruent with prior taxonomic arrangements and include one likely example of paralogy. Himantoglossum metlesicsianum fully merits its IUCN Endangered status. Potentially significant genetic variation was detected within Steveniella satyrioides, H. robertianum and H. hircinum. However, confident circumscription of the more derived species of Himantoglossum s.s., including local endemics of hybrid origin, must await future morphometric and population-genetic analyses.
PMCID: PMC4649687  PMID: 25294871
Dating; evolution; Himantoglossum s.l.; hybridization; incomplete lineage sorting; internal transcribed spacer; nrITS; LEAFY; molecular phylogeny; orchid; Orchidaceae; molecular phylogeography; topological incongruence
11.  Phylogeography and postglacial expansion of the endangered semi-aquatic mammal Galemys pyrenaicus 
Species with strict ecological requirements may provide new insights into the forces that shaped the geographic variation of genetic diversity. The Pyrenean desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, is a small semi-aquatic mammal that inhabits clean streams of the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula and is endangered in most of its geographic range, but its genetic structure is currently unknown. While the stringent ecological demands derived from its aquatic habitat might have caused a partition of the genetic diversity among river basins, Pleistocene glaciations would have generated a genetic pattern related to glacial refugia.
To study the relative importance of historical and ecological factors in the genetic structure of G. pyrenaicus, we used mitochondrial and intronic sequences of specimens covering most of the species range. We show, first, that the Pyrenean desman has very low levels of genetic diversity compared to other mammals. In addition, phylogenetic and dating analyses of the mitochondrial sequences reveal a strong phylogeographic structure of a Middle Pleistocene origin, suggesting that the main lineages arose during periods of glacial isolation. Furthermore, both the spatial distribution of nuclear and mitochondrial diversity and the results of species distribution modeling suggest the existence of a major glacial refugium in the northwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, the main mitochondrial lineages show a striking parapatric distribution without any apparent exchange of mitochondrial haplotypes between the lineages that came into secondary contact (although with certain permeability to nuclear genes), indicating incomplete mixing after the post-glacial recolonization. On the other hand, when we analyzed the partition of the genetic diversity among river basins, the Pyrenean desman showed a lower than expected genetic differentiation among main rivers.
The analysis of mitochondrial and intronic markers in G. pyrenaicus showed the predominant effects of Pleistocene glaciations on the genetic structure of this species, while the distribution of the genetic diversity was not greatly influenced by the main river systems. These results and, particularly, the discovery of a marked phylogeographic structure, may have important implications for the conservation of the Pyrenean desman.
PMCID: PMC3682870  PMID: 23738626
Conservation genetics; Introns; Mammals; Mitochondrial genes; Nuclear genes; Pyrenean desman; Niche modeling; Iberian Peninsula; Endemism
12.  A Complex System of Glacial Sub-Refugia Drives Endemic Freshwater Biodiversity on the Tibetan Plateau 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(8):e0160286.
Although only relatively few freshwater invertebrate families are reported from the Tibetan Plateau, the degree of endemism may be high. Many endemic lineages occur within permafrost areas, raising questions about the existence of isolated intra-plateau glacial refugia. Moreover, if such refugia existed, it might be instructive to learn whether they were associated with lakes or with more dynamic ecosystems such as ponds, wetlands, or springs. To study these hypotheses, we used pulmonate snails of the plateau-wide distributed genus Radix as model group and the Lake Donggi Cona drainage system, located in the north-eastern part of the plateau, as model site. First, we performed plateau-wide phylogenetic analyses using mtDNA data to assess the overall relationships of Radix populations inhabiting the Lake Donggi Cona system for revealing refugial lineages. We then conducted regional phylogeographical analyses applying a combination of mtDNA and nuclear AFLP markers to infer the local structure and demographic history of the most abundant endemic Radix clade for identifying location and type of (sub-)refugia within the drainage system. Our phylogenetic analysis showed a high diversity of Radix lineages in the Lake Donggi Cona system. Subsequent phylogeographical analyses of the most abundant endemic clade indicated a habitat-related clustering of genotypes and several Late Pleistocene spatial/demographic expansion events. The most parsimonious explanation for these patterns would be a scenario of an intra-plateau glacial refugium in the Lake Donggi Cona drainage system, which might have consisted of isolated sub-refugia. Though the underlying processes remain unknown, an initial separation of lake and watershed populations could have been triggered by lake-level fluctuations before and during the Last Glacial Maximum. This study inferred the first intra-plateau refugium for freshwater animals on the Tibetan Plateau. It thus sheds new light on the evolutionary history of its endemic taxa and provides important insights into the complex refugial history of a high-altitude ecosystem.
PMCID: PMC4976922  PMID: 27500403
13.  Microbial diversity in the floral nectar of seven Epipactis (Orchidaceae) species 
MicrobiologyOpen  2013;2(4):644-658.
Floral nectar of animal-pollinated plants is commonly infested with microorganisms, yet little is known about the microorganisms inhabiting the floral nectar of orchids. In this study, we investigated microbial communities occurring in the floral nectar of seven Epipactis (Orchidaceae) species. Culturable bacteria and yeasts were isolated and identified by partially sequencing the small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and the D1/D2 domains of the large subunit (LSU) rRNA gene, respectively. Using three different culture media, we found that bacteria were common inhabitants of the floral nectar of Epipactis. The most widely distributed bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in nectar of Epipactis were representatives of the family of Enterobacteriaceae, with an unspecified Enterobacteriaceae bacterium as the most common. In contrast to previous studies investigating microbial communities in floral nectar, very few yeast species (mainly of the genus Cryptococcus) were observed, and most of them occurred in very low densities. Total OTU richness (i.e., the number of bacterial and yeast OTUs per orchid species) varied between 4 and 20. Cluster analysis revealed that microbial communities of allogamous species differed from those of autogamous and facultatively autogamous species. This study extends previous efforts to identify microbial communities in floral nectar and indicates that the floral nectar of the orchids investigated mainly contained bacterial communities with moderate phylogenetic diversity.
PMCID: PMC3948608  PMID: 23836678
Bacteria; floral nectar; microbial communities; orchids; yeasts.
14.  Genetically Depauperate in the Continent but Rich in Oceanic Islands: Cistus monspeliensis (Cistaceae) in the Canary Islands 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17172.
Population genetic theory holds that oceanic island populations are expected to have lower levels of genetic variation than their mainland counterparts, due to founder effect after island colonization from the continent. Cistus monspeliensis (Cistaceae) is distributed in both the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean region. Numerous phylogenetic results obtained in the last years allow performing further phylogeographic analyses in Cistus.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed sequences from multiple plastid DNA regions in 47 populations of Cistus monspeliensis from the Canary Islands (21 populations) and the Mediterranean basin (26 populations). The time-calibrated phylogeny and phylogeographic analyses yielded the following results: (1) a single, ancestral haplotype is distributed across the Mediterranean, whereas 10 haplotypes in the Canary Islands; (2) four haplotype lineages are present in the Canarian Islands; (3) multiple colonization events across the archipelago are inferred; (4) the earliest split of intraspecific lineages occurred in the Early to Middle Pleistocene (<930,000 years BP).
The contrasting pattern of cpDNA variation is best explained by genetic bottlenecks in the Mediterranean during Quaternary glaciations, while the Canarian archipelago acted as a refugium of high levels of genetic diversity. Active colonization across the Canarian islands is supported not only by the distribution of C. monspeliensis in five of the seven islands, but also by our phylogeographic reconstruction in which unrelated haplotypes are present on the same island. Widespread distribution of thermophilous habitats on every island, as those found throughout the Mediterranean, has likely been responsible for the successful colonization of C. monspeliensis, despite the absence of a long-distance dispersal mechanism. This is the first example of a plant species with higher genetic variation among oceanic island populations than among those of the continent.
PMCID: PMC3038934  PMID: 21347265
15.  A climate change context for the decline of a foundation tree species in south-western Australia: insights from phylogeography and species distribution modelling 
Annals of Botany  2015;116(6):941-952.
Background and Aims A worldwide increase in tree decline and mortality has been linked to climate change and, where these represent foundation species, this can have important implications for ecosystem functions. This study tests a combined approach of phylogeographic analysis and species distribution modelling to provide a climate change context for an observed decline in crown health and an increase in mortality in Eucalyptus wandoo, an endemic tree of south-western Australia.
Methods Phylogeographic analyses were undertaken using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of chloroplast DNA in 26 populations across the species distribution. Parsimony analysis of haplotype relationships was conducted, a haplotype network was prepared, and haplotype and nucleotide diversity were calculated. Species distribution modelling was undertaken using Maxent models based on extant species occurrences and projected to climate models of the last glacial maximum (LGM).
Key Results A structured pattern of diversity was identified, with the presence of two groups that followed a climatic gradient from mesic to semi-arid regions. Most populations were represented by a single haplotype, but many haplotypes were shared among populations, with some having widespread distributions. A putative refugial area with high haplotype diversity was identified at the centre of the species distribution. Species distribution modelling showed high climatic suitability at the LGM and high climatic stability in the central region where higher genetic diversity was found, and low suitability elsewhere, consistent with a pattern of range contraction.
Conclusions Combination of phylogeography and paleo-distribution modelling can provide an evolutionary context for climate-driven tree decline, as both can be used to cross-validate evidence for refugia and contraction under harsh climatic conditions. This approach identified a central refugial area in the test species E. wandoo, with more recent expansion into peripheral areas from where it had contracted at the LGM. This signature of contraction from lower rainfall areas is consistent with current observations of decline on the semi-arid margin of the range, and indicates low capacity to tolerate forecast climatic change. Identification of a paleo-historical context for current tree decline enables conservation interventions to focus on maintaining genetic diversity, which provides the evolutionary potential for adaptation to climate change.
PMCID: PMC4640123  PMID: 25851142
Climate change; Eucalyptus wandoo; Myrtaceae; evolution; forest decline; haplotypes; last glacial maximum; LGM; phylogeography; refugia; species distribution modelling; tree decline.
16.  The Colonization History of Juniperus brevifolia (Cupressaceae) in the Azores Islands 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27697.
A central aim of island biogeography is to understand the colonization history of insular species using current distributions, fossil records and genetic diversity. Here, we analyze five plastid DNA regions of the endangered Juniperus brevifolia, which is endemic to the Azores archipelago.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The phylogeny of the section Juniperus and the phylogeographic analyses of J. brevifolia based on the coalescence theory of allele (plastid) diversity suggest that: (1) a single introduction event likely occurred from Europe; (2) genetic diversification and inter-island dispersal postdated the emergence of the oldest island (Santa Maria, 8.12 Ma); (3) the genetic differentiation found in populations on the islands with higher age and smaller distance to the continent is significantly higher than that on the younger, more remote ones; (4) the high number of haplotypes observed (16), and the widespread distribution of the most frequent and ancestral ones across the archipelago, are indicating early diversification, demographic expansion, and recurrent dispersal. In contrast, restriction of six of the seven derived haplotypes to single islands is construed as reflecting significant isolation time prior to colonization.
Our phylogeographic reconstruction points to the sequence of island emergence as the key factor to explain the distribution of plastid DNA variation. The reproductive traits of this juniper species (anemophily, ornithochory, multi-seeded cones), together with its broad ecological range, appear to be largely responsible for recurrent inter-island colonization of ancestral haplotypes. In contrast, certain delay in colonization of new haplotypes may reflect intraspecific habitat competition on islands where this juniper was already present.
PMCID: PMC3218011  PMID: 22110727
17.  Phylogeography and historical demography of the Lusitanian snail Elona quimperiana reveal survival in unexpected separate glacial refugia 
Present day distributions of Palearctic taxa in northern latitudes mainly result from populations having survived in local patches during the Late Pleistocene and/or from recolonizing populations from southern temperate refugia. If well-studied Mediterranean and eastern European refugia are widely accepted, some recent biogeographical assumptions still remain unclear, such as the occurrence of multiple glacial refugia in Iberia and cryptic refugia in northern Europe during the last glaciations. The Lusitanian snail Elona quimperiana has a remarkably disjunct distribution, limited to northwestern France (Brittany), northwestern Spain and the Basque Country. By describing the phylogeographical structure of this species across its entire range, the present study attempts to identify refugia and subsequent recolonization routes.
Results based on 16S and COI gene sequences showed that the low genetic diversity observed in the Brittany populations should be associated with a recent demographic expansion. By contrast, populations from Spain exhibit several differentiated lineages and are characterized by demographic equilibrium, while the Basque populations are the only ones harboring typical distinct haplotypes. The center of the star-like networks of both gene sequences is occupied by a common ancestral-like haplotype found in Brittany and Spain, which might have originated from the middle of Northern Spain (i.e. Asturias, eastern Lugo and western Cantabria). Estimates of the divergence time between the Spain-Brittany and Basque lineages strongly suggest that E. quimperiana survived the Pleistocene glaciations in distinct refugia on the Iberian Peninsula, one of which is situated in Picos de Europa, and the other in the Basque Country. The occurrence of a northern refugium in France cannot be rejected as of yet.
Present results confirm the Iberian origin of the land snail E. quimperiana and strongly support the emerging phylogeographic hypothesis of multiple refugia in Iberia during the last glaciations. The scenario of a spatial expansion of E. quimperiana from an Iberian refuge located in Asturias to northern areas provides the most probable explanation for the present distribution of this land snail. By harboring distinct haplotypes, the Basque Country populations appear to be of great importance in terms of potential adaptation, long term persistence and hence, the conservation of E. quimperiana.
PMCID: PMC2652461  PMID: 19099565
18.  Phylogeography and genetic structure of a Tertiary relict tree species, Tapiscia sinensis (Tapisciaceae): implications for conservation 
Annals of Botany  2015;116(5):727-737.
Background and Aims The phylogeography of plant species in sub-tropical China remains largely unclear. This study used Tapiscia sinensis, an endemic and endangered tree species widely but disjunctly distributed in sub-tropical China, as a model to reveal the patterns of genetic diversity and phylogeographical history of Tertiary relict plant species in this region. The implications of the results are discussed in relation to its conservation management.
Methods Samples were taken from 24 populations covering the natural geographical distribution of T. sinensis. Genetic structure was investigated by analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) and spatial analysis of molecular variance (SAMOVA). Phylogenetic relationships among haplotypes were constructed with maximum parsimony and haplotype network methods. Historical population expansion events were tested with pairwise mismatch distribution analysis and neutrality tests. Species potential range was deduced by ecological niche modelling (ENM).
Key Results A low level of genetic diversity was detected at the population level. A high level of genetic differentiation and a significant phylogeographical structure were revealed. The mean divergence time of the haplotypes was approx. 1·33 million years ago. Recent range expansion in this species is suggested by a star-like haplotype network and by the results from the mismatch distribution analysis and neutrality tests.
Conclusions Climatic oscillations during the Pleistocene have had pronounced effects on the extant distribution of Tapiscia relative to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Spatial patterns of molecular variation and ENM suggest that T. sinensis may have retreated in south-western and central China and colonized eastern China prior to the LGM. Multiple montane refugia for T. sinense existing during the LGM are inferred in central and western China. The populations adjacent to or within these refugia of T. sinense should be given high priority in the development of conservation policies and management strategies for this endangered species.
PMCID: PMC4590324  PMID: 26187222
Conservation; ecological niche modelling; multiple refugia; Pleistocene climate change; Tertiary relict tree species; local range expansion; sub-tropical China; Tapiscia sinensis; Staphyleaceae; Tapisciaceae
19.  Microscale vicariance and diversification of Western Balkan caddisflies linked to karstification 
Freshwater science (Print)  2013;33(1):250-262.
The karst areas in the Dinaric region of the Western Balkan Peninsula are a hotspot of freshwater biodiversity. Many investigators have examined diversification of the subterranean freshwater fauna in these karst systems. However, diversification of surface-water fauna remains largely unexplored. We assessed local and regional diversification of surface-water species in karst systems and asked whether patterns of population differentiation could be explained by dispersal–diversification processes or allopatric diversification following karst-related microscale vicariance. We analyzed mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) sequence data of 4 caddisfly species (genus Drusus) in a phylogeographic framework to assess local and regional population genetic structure and Pliocene/Pleistocene history. We used BEAST software to assess the timing of intraspecific diversification of the target species. We compared climate envelopes of the study species and projected climatically suitable areas during the last glacial maximum (LGM) to assess differences in the species climatic niches and infer potential LGM refugia. The haplotype distribution of the 4 species (324 individuals from 32 populations) was characterized by strong genetic differentiation with few haplotypes shared among populations (16%) and deep divergence among populations of the 3 endemic species, even at local scales. Divergence among local populations of endemics often exceeded divergence among regional and continental clades of the widespread D. discolor. Major divergences among regional populations dated to 2.0 to 0.5 Mya. Species distribution model projections and genetic structure suggest that the endemic species persisted in situ and diversified locally throughout multiple Pleistocene climate cycles. The pattern for D. discolor was different and consistent with multiple invasions into the region. Patterns of population genetic structure and diversification were similar for the 3 regional endemic Drusus species and consistent with microscale vicariance after the onset of intensified karstification in the Dinaric region. Karstification may induce microscale vicariance of running surface-water habitats and probably promotes allopatric fragmentation of stream insects at small spatial scales.
PMCID: PMC4813752  PMID: 27042385
allopatric diversification; comparative phylogeography; endemism; species distribution modeling; stream insects; Trichoptera; biodiversity
20.  One Species, Three Pleistocene Evolutionary Histories: Phylogeography of the Italian Crested Newt, Triturus carnifex 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41754.
Phylogeographic patterns of temperate species from the Mediterranean peninsulas have been investigated intensively. Nevertheless, as more phylogeographies become available, either unique patterns or new lines of concordance continue to emerge, providing new insights on the evolution of regional biotas. Here, we investigated the phylogeography and evolutionary history of the Italian crested newt, Triturus carnifex, through phylogenetic, molecular dating and population structure analyses of two mitochondrial gene fragments (ND2 and ND4; overall 1273 bp). We found three main mtDNA lineages having parapatric distribution and estimated divergence times between Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene. One lineage (S) was widespread south of the northern Apennine chain and was further geographically structured into five sublineages, likely of Middle Pleistocene origin. The second lineage (C) was widespread throughout the Padano–Venetian plain and did not show a clear phylogeographic structure. The third lineage (N) was observed in only two populations located on western Croatia/Slovenia. Results of analysis of molecular variance suggested that partitioning populations according to the geographic distribution of these lineages and sublineages explains 76% of the observed genetic variation. The phylogeographic structure observed within T. carnifex and divergence time estimates among its lineages, suggest that responses to Pleistocene environmental changes in this single species have been as diverse as those found previously among several codistributed temperate species combined. Consistent with the landscape heterogeneity, physiographic features, and palaeogeographical evolution of its distribution range, these responses encompass multiple refugia along the Apennine chain, lowland refugia in large peri-coastal plains, and a ‘cryptic’ northern refugium.
PMCID: PMC3406094  PMID: 22848590
21.  DNA Barcoding the Canadian Arctic Flora: Core Plastid Barcodes (rbcL + matK) for 490 Vascular Plant Species 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77982.
Accurate identification of Arctic plant species is critical for understanding potential climate-induced changes in their diversity and distributions. To facilitate rapid identification we generated DNA barcodes for the core plastid barcode loci (rbcL and matK) for 490 vascular plant species, representing nearly half of the Canadian Arctic flora and 93% of the flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Sequence recovery was higher for rbcL than matK (93% and 81%), and rbcL was easier to recover than matK from herbarium specimens (92% and 77%). Distance-based and sequence-similarity analyses of combined rbcL + matK data discriminate 97% of genera, 56% of species, and 7% of infraspecific taxa. There is a significant negative correlation between the number of species sampled per genus and the percent species resolution per genus. We characterize barcode variation in detail in the ten largest genera sampled (Carex, Draba, Festuca, Pedicularis, Poa, Potentilla, Puccinellia, Ranunculus, Salix, and Saxifraga) in the context of their phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy. Discrimination with the core barcode loci in these genera ranges from 0% in Salix to 85% in Carex. Haplotype variation in multiple genera does not correspond to species boundaries, including Taraxacum, in which the distribution of plastid haplotypes among Arctic species is consistent with plastid variation documented in non-Arctic species. Introgression of Poa glauca plastid DNA into multiple individuals of P. hartzii is problematic for identification of these species with DNA barcodes. Of three supplementary barcode loci (psbA–trnH, psbK–psbI, atpF–atpH) collected for a subset of Poa and Puccinellia species, only atpF–atpH improved discrimination in Puccinellia, compared with rbcL and matK. Variation in matK in Vaccinium uliginosum and rbcL in Saxifraga oppositifolia corresponds to variation in other loci used to characterize the phylogeographic histories of these Arctic-alpine species.
PMCID: PMC3865322  PMID: 24348895
22.  The evolutionary history of Antirrhinum in the Pyrenees inferred from phylogeographic analyses 
The origin and colonisation history after the Quaternary ice ages remain largely unresolved for many plant lineages, mainly owing to a lack of fine-scale studies. Here, we present a molecular phylogeny and a phylogeographic analysis of Antirrhinum, an important model system in plant biology, in the Pyrenees range. Our goal was to reconstruct the evolutionary and colonisation history of four taxa endemic to this region (A. majus subsp. majus, A. majus. subsp. striatum, A. molle, and A. sempervirens) by using a dense sampling strategy, with a total of 452 individuals from 99 populations whose collective distribution spans nearly the entirety of the Pyrenees and adjacent mountains.
Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of the sequences of two plastid (trnS-trnG and trnK-matK) regions revealed the following: (i) historical relationship between the Pyrenees and Iberia (but not with the Alps); (ii) the long persistence of populations in the Pyrenees, at least since the Late Pleistocene; (iii) three different colonisation histories for populations from the Western, Central, and Eastern Pyrenees; (iv) the deep phylogeographic separation of the eastern and western populations; and (v) the colonisation of southern France from the Eastern Pyrenees.
The present study underlines the enormous influence of the glacial history of the mountain ranges on the current configuration of intra- and inter-specific genetic diversity in Antirrhinum, as well as the importance of periglacial areas for the survival of species during glacial periods of the Quaternary.
PMCID: PMC4099501  PMID: 24970688
Antirrhinum; Phylogeny; Phylogeography; Pyrenees; Quaternary
23.  Historical biogeography of the land snail Cornu aspersum: a new scenario inferred from haplotype distribution in the Western Mediterranean basin 
Despite its key location between the rest of the continent and Europe, research on the phylogeography of north African species remains very limited compared to European and North American taxa. The Mediterranean land mollusc Cornu aspersum (= Helix aspersa) is part of the few species widely sampled in north Africa for biogeographical analysis. It then provides an excellent biological model to understand phylogeographical patterns across the Mediterranean basin, and to evaluate hypotheses of population differentiation. We investigated here the phylogeography of this land snail to reassess the evolutionary scenario we previously considered for explaining its scattered distribution in the western Mediterranean, and to help to resolve the question of the direction of its range expansion (from north Africa to Europe or vice versa). By analysing simultaneously individuals from 73 sites sampled in its putative native range, the present work provides the first broad-scale screening of mitochondrial variation (cyt b and 16S rRNA genes) of C. aspersum.
Phylogeographical structure mirrored previous patterns inferred from anatomy and nuclear data, since all haplotypes could be ascribed to a B (West) or a C (East) lineage. Alternative migration models tested confirmed that C. aspersum most likely spread from north Africa to Europe. In addition to Kabylia in Algeria, which would have been successively a centre of dispersal and a zone of secondary contacts, we identified an area in Galicia where genetically distinct west and east type populations would have regained contact.
Vicariant and dispersal processes are reviewed and discussed in the light of signatures left in the geographical distribution of the genetic variation. In referring to Mediterranean taxa which show similar phylogeographical patterns, we proposed a parsimonious scenario to account for the "east-west" genetic splitting and the northward expansion of the western (B) clade which roughly involves (i) the dispersal of ancestral (eastern) types through Oligocene terranes in the Western Mediterranean (ii) the Tell Atlas orogenesis as gene flow barrier between future west and east populations, (iii) the impact of recurrent climatic fluctuations from mid-Pliocene to the last ice age, (iv) the loss of the eastern lineage during Pleistocene northwards expansion phases.
PMCID: PMC2826328  PMID: 20089175
24.  The importance of Anatolian mountains as the cradle of global diversity in Arabis alpina, a key arctic–alpine species 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(2):241-252.
Background and Aims
Anatolia is a biologically diverse, but phylogeographically under-explored region. It is described as either a centre of origin and long-term Pleistocene refugium, or as a centre for genetic amalgamation, fed from distinct neighbouring refugia. These contrasting hypotheses are tested through a global phylogeographic analysis of the arctic–alpine herb, Arabis alpina.
Herbarium and field collections were used to sample comprehensively the entire global range, with special focus on Anatolia and Levant. Sequence variation in the chloroplast DNA trnL-trnF region was examined in 483 accessions. A haplotype genealogy was constructed and phylogeographic methods, demographic analysis and divergence time estimations were used to identify the centres of diversity and to infer colonization history.
Key Results
Fifty-seven haplotypes were recovered, belonging to three haplogroups with non-overlapping distributions in (1) North America/Europe/northern Africa, (2) the Caucuses/Iranian Plateau/Arabian Peninsula and (3) Ethiopia–eastern Africa. All haplogroups occur within Anatolia, and all intermediate haplotypes linking the three haplogroups are endemic to central Anatolia and Levant, where haplotypic and nucleotide diversities exceeded all other regions. The local pattern of haplotype distribution strongly resembles the global pattern, and the haplotypes began to diverge approx. 2·7 Mya, coinciding with the climate cooling of the early Middle Pleistocene.
The phylogeographic structure of Arabis alpina is consistent with Anatolia being the cradle of origin for global genetic diversification. The highly structured landscape in combination with the Pleistocene climate fluctuations has created a network of mountain refugia and the accumulation of spatially arranged genotypes. This local Pleistocene population history has subsequently left a genetic imprint at the global scale, through four range expansions from the Anatolian diversity centre into Europe, the Near East, Arabia and Africa. Hence this study also illustrates the importance of sampling and scaling effects when translating global from local diversity patterns during phylogeographic analyses.
PMCID: PMC3143044  PMID: 21712298
Anatolia; centre of origin; Pleistocene glaciations; chloroplast trnL-F; divergence times; alpine plants; Arabis alpina
25.  Phylogeography of Supralittoral Rocky Intertidal Ligia Isopods in the Pacific Region from Central California to Central Mexico 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11633.
Ligia isopods are widely distributed in the Pacific rocky intertidal shores from central California to central Mexico, including the Gulf of California. Yet, their biological characteristics restrict them to complete their life cycles in a very narrow range of the rocky intertidal supralittoral. Herein, we examine phylogeographic patterns of Ligia isopods from 122 localities between central California and central Mexico. We expect to find high levels of allopatric diversity. In addition, we expect the phylogeographic patterns to show signatures of past vicariant events that occurred in this geologically dynamic region.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We sequenced two mitochondrial genes (Cytochrome Oxidase I and 16S ribosomal DNA). We conducted Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses. We found many divergent clades that, in general, group according to geography. Some of the most striking features of the Ligia phylogeographic pattern include: (1) deep mid-peninsular phylogeographic breaks on the Pacific and Gulf sides of Baja peninsula; (2) within the Gulf lineages, the northern peninsula is most closely related to the northern mainland, while the southern peninsula is most closely related to the central-southern mainland; and, (3) the southernmost portion of the peninsula (Cape Region) is most closely related to the southernmost portion of mainland.
Our results shed light on the phylogenetic relationships of Ligia populations in the study area. This study probably represents the finest-scale phylogeographic examination for any organism to date in this region. Presence of highly divergent lineages suggests multiple Ligia species exist in this region. The phylogeographic patterns of Ligia in the Gulf of California and Baja peninsula are incongruent with a widely accepted vicariant scenario among phylogeographers, but consistent with aspects of alternative geological hypotheses and phylo- and biogeographic patterns of several other taxa. Our findings contribute to the ongoing debate regarding the geological origin of this important biogeographic region.
PMCID: PMC2908127  PMID: 20657776

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