Phylogeographic patterns of genetic diversity in eastern Mediterranean water frogs have been determined by geological processes and climate change in the Late Cenozoic.
ABSTRACT: AIM: Our aims were to assess the phylogeographic patterns of genetic diversity in eastern Mediterranean water frogs and to estimate divergence times using different geological scenarios. We related divergence times to past geological events and discuss the relevance of our data for the systematics of eastern Mediterranean water frogs. LOCATION: The eastern Mediterranean region. METHODS: Genetic diversity and divergence were calculated using sequences of two protein-coding mitochondrial (mt) genes: ND2 (1038 bp, 119 sequences) and ND3 (340 bp, 612 sequences). Divergence times were estimated in a Bayesian framework under four geological scenarios representing alternative possible geological histories for the eastern Mediterranean. We then compared the different scenarios using Bayes factors and additional geological data. RESULTS: Extensive genetic diversity in mtDNA divides eastern Mediterranean water frogs into six main haplogroups (MHG). Three MHGs were identified on the Anatolian mainland; the most widespread MHG with the highest diversity is distributed from western Anatolia to the northern shore of the Caspian Sea, including the type locality of Pelophylax ridibundus. The other two Anatolian MHGs are restricted to south-eastern Turkey, occupying localities west and east of the Amanos mountain range. One of the remaining three MHGs is restricted to Cyprus; a second to the Levant; the third was found in the distribution area of European lake frogs (P. ridibundus group), including the Balkans. MAIN CONCLUSIONS: Based on geological evidence and estimates of genetic divergence we hypothesize that the water frogs of Cyprus have been isolated from the Anatolian mainland populations since the end of the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC), i.e. since c. 5.5-5.3 Ma, while our divergence time estimates indicate that the isolation of Crete from the mainland populations (Peloponnese, Anatolia) most likely pre-dates the MSC. The observed rates of divergence imply a time window of c. 1.6-1.1 million years for diversification of the largest Anatolian MHG; divergence between the two other Anatolian MHGs may have begun about 3.0 Ma, apparently as a result of uplift of the Amanos Mountains. Our mtDNA data suggest that the Anatolian water frogs and frogs from Cyprus represent several undescribed species.
Project description:Variation patterns of allozymes and of ND3 haplotypes of mitochondrial DNA reveal a zone of genetic transition among western Palearctic water frogs extending across northeastern Greece and European Turkey. At the western end of the zone, allozymes characteristic of Central European frogs known as Pelophylax ridibundus predominate, whereas at the eastern end, alleles characteristic of western Anatolian water frogs (P. cf. bedriagae) prevail. The ND3 haplotypes reveal 2 major clades, 1 characteristic of Anatolian frogs, the other of European; the European clade itself has distinct eastern and western subclades. Both the 2 major clades and the 2 subclades overlap within the transition zone. Using Bayesian model selection methods, allozyme data suggest considerable immigration into the Nestos River area from eastern and western populations. In contrast, the ND3 data suggest that migration rates are so high among all locations that they form a single panmictic unit; the best model for allozymes is second best for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Nuclear markers (allozymes), which have roughly 4 times as deep a coalescent history as mtDNA data and thus may reflect patterns over a longer time, indicate that eastern and western refugial populations have expanded since deglaciation (in the last 10,000 years) and have met near the Nestos River, whereas the mtDNA with its smaller effective population size has already lost the signal of partitioning into refugia.
Project description:Eastern Mediterranean subduction accommodated Africa-Eurasia convergence since Mesozoic time and produced multiple subducted slab fragments in the mantle below Anatolia. These included the north dipping Cyprus and ENE-dipping Antalya slabs, which are currently separated by an upper mantle slab gap. Segmentation of these slabs, and associated mantle flow, may have contributed to <8 Ma uplift of the Central Anatolian Plateau. The western Central Taurides fold-thrust belt in southern Turkey is in the upper plate above the Antalya slab and contains a geological record of its subduction. We present the first orogen-scale balanced cross section of the Taurides and find that it formed in two stages: (1) Cretaceous to middle Eocene thrusting resulted in a minimum of 73-km shortening, and (2) Mio-Pliocene thrusting resulted in a minimum of 17.5-km shortening. Eocene shortening accounts for only ~5 Myr of Africa-Eurasia plate convergence. It is unlikely that >400 km of post to middle Eocene plate convergence was accommodated between the Taurides and its Beyda?lar? platform foreland and instead must have been accommodated south of Beyda?lar?. The associated southward plate boundary jump separated the Antalya slab from the African plate and the Cyprus slab. The isolated Antalya slab was left in an intraplate setting and is probably still attached to Beyda?lar? today. We suggest the continental composition of the Antalya slab may have prevented its detachment. Finally, the gap between the Antalya and Cyprus slabs existed since at least Eocene time; their decoupling likely did not contribute to late Neogene Central Anatolian Plateau uplift.
Project description:Genetics can provide invaluable information on the ancestry of the current inhabitants of Cyprus. A Y-chromosome analysis was performed to (i) determine paternal ancestry among the Greek Cypriot (GCy) community in the context of the Central and Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East; and (ii) identify genetic similarities and differences between Greek Cypriots (GCy) and Turkish Cypriots (TCy). Our haplotype-based analysis has revealed that GCy and TCy patrilineages derive primarily from a single gene pool and show very close genetic affinity (low genetic differentiation) to Calabrian Italian and Lebanese patrilineages. In terms of more recent (past millennium) ancestry, as indicated by Y-haplotype sharing, GCy and TCy share much more haplotypes between them than with any surrounding population (7-8% of total haplotypes shared), while TCy also share around 3% of haplotypes with mainland Turks, and to a lesser extent with North Africans. In terms of Y-haplogroup frequencies, again GCy and TCy show very similar distributions, with the predominant haplogroups in both being J2a-M410, E-M78, and G2-P287. Overall, GCy also have a similar Y-haplogroup distribution to non-Turkic Anatolian and Southwest Caucasian populations, as well as Cretan Greeks. TCy show a slight shift towards Turkish populations, due to the presence of Eastern Eurasian (some of which of possible Ottoman origin) Y-haplogroups. Overall, the Y-chromosome analysis performed, using both Y-STR haplotype and binary Y-haplogroup data puts Cypriot in the middle of a genetic continuum stretching from the Levant to Southeast Europe and reveals that despite some differences in haplotype sharing and haplogroup structure, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots share primarily a common pre-Ottoman paternal ancestry.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hybridogenesis (hemiclonal inheritance) is a kind of clonal reproduction in which hybrids between parental species are reproduced by crossing with one of the parental species. European water frogs (Pelophylax esculentus complex) represent an appropriate model for studying interspecies hybridization, processes of hemiclonal inheritance and polyploidization. P. esculentus complex consists of two parental species, P. ridibundus (the lake frog) and P. lessonae (the pool frog), and their hybridogenetic hybrid - P. esculentus (the edible frog). Parental and hybrid frogs can reproduce syntopically and form hemiclonal population systems. For studying mechanisms underlying the maintenance of water frog population systems it is required to characterize the karyotypes transmitted in gametes of parental and different hybrid animals of both sexes.<h4>Results</h4>In order to obtain an instrument for characterization of oocyte karyotypes in hybrid female frogs, we constructed cytological maps of lampbrush chromosomes from oocytes of both parental species originating in Eastern Ukraine. We further identified certain molecular components of chromosomal marker structures and mapped coilin-rich spheres and granules, chromosome associated nucleoli and special loops accumulating splicing factors. We recorded the dissimilarities between P. ridibundus and P. lessonae lampbrush chromosomes in the length of orthologous chromosomes, number and location of marker structures and interstitial (TTAGGG)n-repeat sites as well as activity of nucleolus organizer. Satellite repeat RrS1 was mapped in centromere regions of lampbrush chromosomes of the both species. Additionally, we discovered transcripts of RrS1 repeat in oocytes of P. ridibundus and P. lessonae. Moreover, G-rich transcripts of telomere repeat were revealed in association with terminal regions of P. ridibundus and P. lessonae lampbrush chromosomes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The constructed cytological maps of lampbrush chromosomes of P. ridibundus and P. lessonae provide basis to define the type of genome transmitted within individual oocytes of P. esculentus females with different ploidy and from various population systems.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The indigenous cattle populations from Greece and Cyprus have decreased to small numbers and are currently at risk of extinction due to socio-economic reasons, geographic isolation and crossbreeding with commercial breeds. This study represents the first comprehensive genome-wide analysis of 10 indigenous cattle populations from continental Greece and the Greek islands, and one from Cyprus, and compares them with 104 international breeds using more than 46,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).<h4>Results</h4>We estimated several parameters of genetic diversity (e.g. heterozygosity and allelic diversity) that indicated a severe loss of genetic diversity for the island populations compared to the mainland populations, which is mainly due to the declining size of their population in recent years and subsequent inbreeding. This high inbreeding status also resulted in higher genetic differentiation within the Greek and Cyprus cattle group compared to the remaining geographical breed groups. Supervised and unsupervised cluster analyses revealed that the phylogenetic patterns in the indigenous Greek breeds were consistent with their geographical origin and historical information regarding crosses with breeds of Anatolian or Balkan origin. Cyprus cattle showed a relatively high indicine ancestry. Greek island populations are placed close to the root of the tree as defined by Gir and the outgroup Yak, whereas the mainland breeds share a common historical origin with Buša. Unsupervised clustering and D-statistics analyses provided strong support for Bos indicus introgression in almost all the investigated local cattle breeds along the route from Anatolia up to the southern foothills of the Alps, as well as in most cattle breeds along the Apennine peninsula to the southern foothills of the Alps.<h4>Conclusions</h4>All investigated Cyprus and Greek breeds present complex mosaic genomes as a result of historical and recent admixture events between neighbor and well-separated breeds. While the contribution of some mainland breeds to the genetic diversity pool seems important, some island and fragmented mainland breeds suffer from a severe decline of population size and loss of alleles due to genetic drift. Conservation programs that are a compromise between what is feasible and what is desirable should focus not only on the still highly diverse mainland breeds but also promote and explore the conservation possibilities for island breeds.
Project description:Water frogs of the genus Pelophylax (previous Rana) species have been much studied in Europe for their outstanding reproductive mechanism in which sympatric hybridization between genetically distinct parental species produces diverse genetic forms of viable hybrid animals. The most common hybrid is P. esculentus that carries the genomes of both parental species, P. ridibundus and P. lessonae, but usually transfers the whole genome of only one parent to its offsprings (hybridogenesis). The evolutionary cost of transfer of the intact genome and hence the hemiclonal reproduction is the depletion of heterozygosity in the hybrid populations. Pelophylax esculentus presents an excellent example of the long-term sustained hybridization and hemiclonal reproduction in which the effects of the low genetic diversity are balanced through the novel mutations and periodic recombinations. In this study, we analyzed the mitochondrial (mt) and microsatellites DNA variations in hybrid Pelophylax populations from southern parts of the Pannonian Basin and a north-south transect of the Balkan Peninsula, which are home for a variety of Pelophylax genetic lineages. The mtDNA haplotypes found in this study corresponded to P. ridibundus and P. epeiroticus of the Balkan - Anatolian lineage (ridibundus-bedriagae) and to P. lessonae and a divergent lessonae haplotype of the lessonae lineage. The mtDNA genomes showed considerable intraspecific variation and geographic differentiation. The Balkan wide distributed P. ridibundus was found in all studied populations and its nuclear genome, along with either the lessonae or the endemic epeiroticus genome, in all hybrids. An unexpected finding was that the hybrid populations were invariably heteroplasmic, that is, they contained the mtDNA of both parental species. We discussed the possibility that such extensive heteroplasmy is a result of hybridization and it comes from regular leakage of the paternal mtDNA from a sperm of one species that fertilizes eggs of another. In this case, the mechanisms that protect the egg from heterospecific fertilization and further from the presence of sperm mtDNA could become compromised due to their differences and divergence at both, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. The heteroplasmy once retained in the fertilized egg could be transmitted by hybrid backcrossing to the progeny and maintained in a population over generations. The role of interspecies and heteroplasmic hybrid animals due to their genomic diversity and better fitness compare to the parental species might be of the special importance in adaptations to miscellaneous and isolated environments at the Balkan Peninsula.
Project description:Artificial reefs, in the Eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus,) became a popular and frequently used tool, in fisheries and biodiversity conservation management. Even though evaluation studies about the efficacy of artificial reefs are plentiful in the rest of the Mediterranean (Central and Western), in the Eastern Basin they are largely absent. As the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea is characterised by unique physical parameters, the necessity to study artificial reefs under these contrasting regimes increases. The epibenthic communities of two unintentional artificial reefs (modern shipwrecks) in Cyprus (Zenobia) and Lebanon (Alice-B) were evaluated in 2010. Both shipwrecks are at similar depth, type of sea bottom, made of the same material (steel) and were sunk approximately the same period of time. However, Alice-B shipwreck off the coast of Lebanon is constantly exposed to higher levels of nutrients than Zenobia in Cyprus. Significant dissimilarities were observed in the composition, percentage of benthic cover of predominant taxonomic groups and development of the epibenthic communities. Differences in physical and chemical parameters between sides lay mainly in the nutrient and thermal regimes affecting the shipwrecks and most likely bring about the differences in the observed community structure. The results of this study suggest that epibenthic communities could be highly impacted by eutrophication caused by anthropogenic activities, leading to less biodiverse communities dominated by specific species that are favoured by the eutrophic conditions.
Project description:Many animal and plant species in the Middle East and northern Africa have a predominantly longitudinal distribution, extending from Iran and Turkey along the eastern Mediterranean coast into northern Africa. These species are potentially characterized by longitudinal patterns of biological diversity, but little is known about the underlying biogeographic mechanisms and evolutionary timescales. We examined these questions in the striped skink, Heremites vittatus, one such species with a roughly longitudinal distribution across the Middle East and northern Africa, by analyzing range-wide patterns of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and multi-trait morphological variation.The striped skink exhibits a basic longitudinal organization of mtDNA diversity, with three major mitochondrial lineages inhabiting northern Africa, the eastern Mediterranean coast, and Turkey/Iran. Remarkably, these lineages are of pre-Quaternary origin, and are characterized by p-distances of 9-10%. In addition, within each of these lineages a more recent Quaternary genetic diversification was observed, as evidenced by deep subclades and high haplotype diversity especially in the Turkish/Iranian and eastern Mediterranean lineages. Consistent with the genetic variation, our morphological analysis revealed that the majority of morphological traits show significant mean differences between specimens from northern Africa, the eastern Mediterranean coast, and Turkey/Iran, suggesting lineage-specific trait evolution. In addition, a subset of traits exhibits clinal variation along the eastern Mediterranean coast, potentially indicating selection gradients at the geographic transition from northern Africa to Anatolia. The existence of allopatric, morphologically and genetically divergent lineages suggests that Heremites vittatus might represent a complex with several taxa.Our work demonstrates that early divergence events in the Pliocene, likely driven by both climatic and geological factors, established the longitudinal patterns and distribution of Heremites vittatus. Subsequent radiation during the Pleistocene generated the genetic and morphological diversity observed today. Our study provides further evidence that longitudinal diversity patterns and species distributions in the Middle East and northern Africa were shaped by complex evolutionary processes, involving the region's intricate geological history, climatic oscillations, and the presence of the Sahara.
Project description:The Mediterranean islands are known as natural laboratories of evolution with a high level of endemic biodiversity. However, most biodiversity assessments have focused mainly on terrestrial and marine fauna, leaving the freshwater animals aside. Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Basin, with a long history of isolation from the continental mainland. Gammarid amphipods are often dominant in macrozoobenthic communities in European inland waters. They are widely used in biomonitoring and exotoxicological studies. Herein, we describe Gammarus plaitisi sp. nov., endemic to Cretan streams, based on morphological characters and a set of molecular species delimitation methods using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I and 16S rRNA genes as well as nuclear 28S rDNA, ITS1 and EF1-alpha genes. The divergence of the new species is strongly connected with the geological history of the island supporting its continental origin.
Project description:The beginnings of pig domestication in Southwest Asia are controversial. In some areas, it seems to have occurred abruptly ca. 10,500 years ago, whereas in nearby locations, it appears to have resulted from a long period of management of wild boar starting at the end of the Late Pleistocene. Here, we present analyses of suid bones from Akrotiri Aetokremnos, Cyprus. This site has provided the earliest evidence for human occupation of the Mediterranean islands. Morphological analysis and direct radiocarbon dating of both degraded collagen and apatite of these bones reveal that small-sized suids were living on Cyprus 11,400-11,700 years ago. We demonstrate that these suids were introduced by humans and that, at this early date, their small size must result from island isolation. This sheds light on the early Holocene colonization of Cyprus and on pre-Neolithic Mediterranean seafaring. We further argue that wild boar were managed on the mainland before their introduction to Cyprus (i.e., before the beginning of the Neolithic and at least 1 millennium before the earliest known morphological modifications attributable to domestication). This adds weight to the theory that pig domestication involved a long period of wild boar management that started about the time of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition.