Phylogeography of Atlantic Forest glassfrogs (Vitreorana): when geography, climate dynamics and rivers matter.
ABSTRACT: Recent advances in the field of landscape genetics provide ways to jointly analyze the role of present-day climate and landscape configuration in current biodiversity patterns. Expanding this framework into a phylogeographic study, we incorporate information on historical climatic shifts, tied to descriptions of the local topography and river configuration, to explore the processes that underlie genetic diversity patterns in the Atlantic Forest hotspot. We study two montane, stream-associated species of glassfrogs: Vitreorana eurygnatha and V. uranoscopa. By integrating species distribution modeling with geographic information systems and molecular data, we find that regional patterns of molecular diversity are jointly explained by geographic distance, historical (last 120?ky) climatic stability, and (in one species) river configuration. Mitochondrial DNA genealogies recover significant regional structure in both species, matching previous classifications of the northern and southern forests in the Atlantic Forest, and are consistent with patterns reported in other taxa. Yet, these spatial patterns of genetic diversity are only partially supported by nuclear data. Contrary to data from lowland taxa, historical climate projections suggest that these montane species were able to persist in the southern Atlantic Forest during glacial periods, particularly during the Last Glacial Maximum. These results support generally differential responses to climatic cycling by northern (lowland) and southern (montane) Atlantic Forest species, triggered by the joint impact of regional landscape configuration and climate change.
Project description:Environmental gradients constrain physiological performance and thus species' ranges, suggesting that species occurrence in diverse environments may be associated with local adaptation. Genome-environment association analyses (GEAA) have become central for studies of local adaptation, yet they are sensitive to the spatial orientation of historical range expansions relative to landscape gradients. To test whether potentially adaptive genotypes occur in varied climates in wide-ranged species, we implemented GEAA on the basis of genomewide data from the anole lizards Anolis ortonii and Anolis punctatus, which expanded from Amazonia, presently dominated by warm and wet settings, into the cooler and less rainy Atlantic Forest. To examine whether local adaptation has been constrained by population structure and history, we estimated effective population sizes, divergence times, and gene flow under a coalescent framework. In both species, divergence between Amazonian and Atlantic Forest populations dates back to the mid-Pleistocene, with subsequent gene flow. We recovered eleven candidate genes involved with metabolism, immunity, development, and cell signaling in A. punctatus and found no loci whose frequency is associated with environmental gradients in A. ortonii. Distinct signatures of adaptation between these species are not associated with historical constraints or distinct climatic space occupancies. Similar patterns of spatial structure between selected and neutral SNPs along the climatic gradient, as supported by patterns of genetic clustering in A. punctatus, may have led to conservative GEAA performance. This study illustrates how tests of local adaptation can benefit from knowledge about species histories to support hypothesis formulation, sampling design, and landscape gradient characterization.
Project description:Phylogeographic studies have sought to explain the genetic imprints of historical climatic changes and geographic barriers within the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (AF) biota, and consequently two processes of diversification (refugia and barriers) have been proposed. Additionally, there is evidence that eustatic changes influenced the biogeographic history of the AF. Here we evaluate these contrasting diversification processes using two AF social wasp species - the mid-montane Synoeca cyanea and the lowland Synoeca aff. septentrionalis. We analyzed several sources of data including multilocus DNA sequence, climatic niche models and chromosomal features. We find support for idiosyncratic phylogeographic patterns between these wasps, involving different levels of population structure and genetic diversity, contrary suitable climatic conditions during the last glaciation, and contrasting historical movements along the AF. Our data indicate that neotectonics and refugia played distinct roles in shaping the genetic structure of these wasps. However, we argue that eustatic changes influenced the demographic expansion but not population structure in AF biota. Notably, these wasps exhibited chromosomal clines, involving chromosome number and decreasing of GC content, latitudinally oriented along the AF. Together, these results reinforce the need to consider individual organismal histories and indicate that barriers and refugia are significant factors in understanding AF evolution.
Project description:Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) is a remarkable genus of miniaturized frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Many of its species are highly endemic to cloud forests, being found only on one or a few mountaintops. Such level of microendemism might be caused by their climatic tolerance to a narrow set of environmental conditions found only in montane regions. This restriction severely limits the chance of discovery of new species, given the difficulty of exploring these inaccessible habitats. Following extensive fieldwork in montane areas of the southern portion of the Atlantic Rainforest, in this study we describe seven new species of Brachycephalus from the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, southern Brazil. These species can be distinguished from one another based on coloration and the level of rugosity of the skin in different parts of their body. These discoveries increase considerably the number of described species of Brachycephalus in southern Brazil.
Project description:The distribution of beta diversity is shaped by factors linked to environmental and spatial control. The relative importance of both processes in structuring spider metacommunities has not yet been investigated in the Atlantic Forest. The variance explained by purely environmental, spatially structured environmental, and purely spatial components was compared for a metacommunity of web spiders. The study was carried out in 16 patches of Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil. Field work was done in one landscape mosaic representing a slight gradient of urbanization. Environmental variables encompassed plot- and patch-level measurements and a climatic matrix, while principal coordinates of neighbor matrices (PCNMs) acted as spatial variables. A forward selection procedure was carried out to select environmental and spatial variables influencing web-spider beta diversity. Variation partitioning was used to estimate the contribution of pure environmental and pure spatial effects and their shared influence on beta-diversity patterns, and to estimate the relative importance of selected environmental variables. Three environmental variables (bush density, land use in the surroundings of patches, and shape of patches) and two spatial variables were selected by forward selection procedures. Variation partitioning revealed that 15% of the variation of beta diversity was explained by a combination of environmental and PCNM variables. Most of this variation (12%) corresponded to pure environmental and spatially environmental structure. The data indicated that (1) spatial legacy was not important in explaining the web-spider beta diversity; (2) environmental predictors explained a significant portion of the variation in web-spider composition; (3) one-third of environmental variation was due to a spatial structure that jointly explains variation in species distributions. We were able to detect important factors related to matrix management influencing the web-spider beta-diversity patterns, which are probably linked to historical deforestation events.
Project description:Phylogeographic endemism, the degree to which the history of recently evolved lineages is spatially restricted, reflects fundamental evolutionary processes such as cryptic divergence, adaptation and biological responses to environmental heterogeneity. Attempts to explain the extraordinary diversity of the tropics, which often includes deep phylogeographic structure, frequently invoke interactions of climate variability across space, time and topography. To evaluate historical versus contemporary drivers of phylogeographic endemism in a tropical system, we analyse the effects of current and past climatic variation on the genetic diversity of 25 vertebrates in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest. We identify two divergent bioclimatic domains within the forest and high turnover around the Rio Doce. Independent modelling of these domains demonstrates that endemism patterns are subject to different climatic drivers. Past climate dynamics, specifically areas of relative stability, predict phylogeographic endemism in the north. Conversely, contemporary climatic heterogeneity better explains endemism in the south. These results accord with recent speleothem and fossil pollen studies, suggesting that climatic variability through the last 250 kyr impacted the northern and the southern forests differently. Incorporating sub-regional differences in climate dynamics will enhance our ability to understand those processes shaping high phylogeographic and species endemism, in the Neotropics and beyond.
Project description:Beta diversity patterns are the outcome of multiple processes operating at different scales. Amphibian assemblages seem to be affected by contemporary climate and dispersal-based processes. However, historical processes involved in present patterns of beta diversity remain poorly understood. We assess and disentangle geomorphological, climatic and spatial drivers of amphibian beta diversity in coastal lowlands of the Atlantic Forest, southeastern Brazil. We tested the hypothesis that geomorphological factors are more important in structuring anuran beta diversity than climatic and spatial factors. We obtained species composition via field survey (N = 766 individuals), museum specimens (N = 9,730) and literature records (N = 4,763). Sampling area was divided in four spatially explicit geomorphological units, representing historical predictors. Climatic descriptors were represented by the first two axis of a Principal Component Analysis. Spatial predictors in different spatial scales were described by Moran Eigenvector Maps. Redundancy Analysis was implemented to partition the explained variation of species composition by geomorphological, climatic and spatial predictors. Moreover, spatial autocorrelation analyses were used to test neutral theory predictions. Beta diversity was spatially structured in broader scales. Shared fraction between climatic and geomorphological variables was an important predictor of species composition (13%), as well as broad scale spatial predictors (13%). However, geomorphological variables alone were the most important predictor of beta diversity (42%). Historical factors related to geomorphology must have played a crucial role in structuring amphibian beta diversity. The complex relationships between geomorphological history and climatic gradients generated by the Serra do Mar Precambrian basements were also important. We highlight the importance of combining spatially explicit historical and contemporary predictors for understanding and disentangling major drivers of beta diversity patterns.
Project description:Phylobetadiversity is defined as the phylogenetic resemblance between communities or biomes. Analyzing phylobetadiversity patterns among different vegetation physiognomies within a single biome is crucial to understand the historical affinities between them. Based on the widely accepted idea that different forest physiognomies within the Southern Brazilian Atlantic Forest constitute different facies of a single biome, we hypothesize that more recent phylogenetic nodes should drive phylobetadiversity gradients between the different forest types within the Atlantic Forest, as the phylogenetic divergence among those forest types is biogeographically recent. We compiled information from 206 checklists describing the occurrence of shrub/tree species across three different forest physiognomies within the Southern Brazilian Atlantic Forest (Dense, Mixed and Seasonal forests). We analyzed intra-site phylogenetic structure (phylogenetic diversity, net relatedness index and nearest taxon index) and phylobetadiversity between plots located at different forest types, using five different methods differing in sensitivity to either basal or terminal nodes (phylogenetic fuzzy weighting, COMDIST, COMDISTNT, UniFrac and Rao's H). Mixed forests showed higher phylogenetic diversity and overdispersion than the other forest types. Furthermore, all forest types differed from each other in relation phylobetadiversity patterns, particularly when phylobetadiversity methods more sensitive to terminal nodes were employed. Mixed forests tended to show higher phylogenetic differentiation to Dense and Seasonal forests than these latter from each other. The higher phylogenetic diversity and phylobetadiversity levels found in Mixed forests when compared to the others likely result from the biogeographical origin of several taxa occurring in these forests. On one hand, Mixed forests shelter several temperate taxa, like the conifers Araucaria and Podocarpus. On the other hand, tropical groups, like Myrtaceae, are also very representative of this forest type. We point out to the need of more attention to Mixed forests as a conservation target within the Brazilian Atlantic Forest given their high phylogenetic uniqueness.
Project description:Phylogeographic studies provide a framework for understanding the importance of intrinsic versus extrinsic factors in shaping patterns of biodiversity through identifying past and present microevolutionary processes that contributed to lineage divergence. Here we investigate population structure and diversity of the Onychophoran (velvet worm) Euperipatoides rowelli in southeastern Australian montane forests that were not subject to Pleistocene glaciations, and thus likely retained more forest cover than systems under glaciation. Over a ~100 km transect of structurally-connected forest, we found marked nuclear and mitochondrial (mt) DNA genetic structuring, with spatially-localised groups. Patterns from mtDNA and nuclear data broadly corresponded with previously defined geographic regions, consistent with repeated isolation in refuges during Pleistocene climatic cycling. Nevertheless, some E. rowelli genetic contact zones were displaced relative to hypothesized influential landscape structures, implying more recent processes overlying impacts of past environmental history. Major impacts at different timescales were seen in the phylogenetic relationships among mtDNA sequences, which matched geographic relationships and nuclear data only at recent timescales, indicating historical gene flow and/or incomplete lineage sorting. Five major E. rowelli phylogeographic groups were identified, showing substantial but incomplete reproductive isolation despite continuous habitat. Regional distinctiveness, in the face of lineages abutting within forest habitat, could indicate pre- and/or postzygotic gene flow limitation. A potentially functional phenotypic character, colour pattern variation, reflected the geographic patterns in the molecular data. Spatial-genetic patterns broadly match those in previously-studied, co-occurring low-mobility organisms, despite a variety of life histories. We suggest that for E. rowelli, the complex topography and history of the region has led to interplay among limited dispersal ability, historical responses to environmental change, local adaptation, and some resistance to free admixture at geographic secondary contact, leading to strong genetic structuring at fine spatial scale.
Project description:It is generally accepted that accentuated global climatic cycles since the Plio-Pleistocene (2.8 Ma ago) have caused the intermittent fragmentation of forest regions into isolated refugia thereby providing a mechanism for speciation of tropical forest biota contained within them. However, it has been assumed that this mechanism had its greatest effect in the species rich lowland regions. Contrary evidence from molecular studies of African and South American forest birds suggests that areas of recent intensive speciation, where mostly new lineages are clustered, occur in discrete tropical montane regions, while lowland regions contain mostly old species. Two predictions arise from this finding. First, a species phylogeny of an avian group, represented in both lowland and montane habitats, should be ordered such that montane forms are represented by the most derived characters. Second, montane speciation events should predominate within the past 2.8 Ma. In order to test this model I have investigated the evolutionary history of the recently radiated African greenbuls (genus Andropadus), using a molecular approach. This analysis finds that montane species are a derived monophyletic group when compared to lowland species of the same genus and recent speciation events (within the Plio-Pleistocene) have exclusively occurred in montane regions. These data support the view that montane regions have acted as centres of speciation during recent climatic instability.
Project description:Quaternary climatic oscillations have impacted Patagonian sigmodontine fauna, leaving traceable genetic footprints. In southern Chile, changes in the landscape included transitions to different vegetation formations as well as the extension of ice sheets. In this study, we focus on the Valdivian forest endemic and recently described sigmodontine species Abrothrix manni. We aim to assess the genetic structure of this species, testing for the existence of intraspecific lineages, and inferring the recent demographic history of the species. Analyses were based on the first 801 bp of the mitochondrial gene Cytocrhome-b from 49 individuals of A. manni collected at 10 localities that covers most part of its geographic distribution. Genealogical analyses recovered two main intraspecific lineages that are geographically segregated and present an intermediate site of secondary contact. Historical demography shows signal of recent population decrease. Based on these results, we proposed that current genetic diversity of A. manni differentiated in at least two distinct refugial areas in southern Chile. This scenario, in addition to be unique among those uncovered for the so far studied Valdivian forest rodents, is noteworthy because of the reduced geographic scale inhabited by the species.