Phylogeographic history of flat periwinkles, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The flat periwinkles, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata, are two sister species widely distributed throughout the Northern Atlantic shores with high potential to inform us about the process of ecological speciation in the intertidal. However, whether gene flow has occurred during their divergence is still a matter of debate. A comprehensive assessment of the genetic diversity of these species is also lacking and their main glacial refugia and dispersal barriers remain largely unknown. In order to fill these gaps, we sequenced two mitochondrial genes and two nuclear fragments to perform a phylogeographic analysis of flat periwinkles across their distribution range. RESULTS:We identified two main clades largely composed by species-specific haplotypes corresponding to L. obtusata and L. fabalis, with moderate to strong support, respectively. Importantly, a model of divergence with gene flow between the two species (from L. obtusata to L. fabalis) was better supported, both in Iberia and in northern-central Europe. Three mitochondrial clades were detected within L. fabalis and two within L. obtusata, with strong divergence between Iberia and the remaining populations. The largest component of the genetic variance within each species was explained by differences between geographic regions associated with these clades. Our data suggests that overall intraspecific genetic diversity is similar between the two flat periwinkle species and that populations from Iberia tend to be less diverse than populations from northern-central Europe. CONCLUSIONS:The phylogeographic analysis of this sister-species pair supports divergence with gene flow. This system thus provides us with the opportunity to study the contribution of gene flow and natural selection during diversification. The distribution of the different clades suggests the existence of glacial refugia in Iberia and northern-central Europe for both species, with a main phylogeographic break between these regions. Although the genetic diversity results are not fully conclusive, the lower diversity observed in Iberia could reflect marginal conditions at the southern limit of their distribution range during the current interglacial period.
Project description:Characterizing the patterns of hybridization between closely related species is crucial to understand the role of gene flow in speciation. In particular, systems comprising multiple contacts between sister species offer an outstanding opportunity to investigate how reproductive isolation varies with environmental conditions, demography and geographic contexts of divergence. The flat periwinkles, Littorina obtusata and L. fabalis (Gastropoda), are two intertidal sister species with marked ecological differences compatible with late stages of speciation. Although hybridization between the two was previously suggested, its extent across the Atlantic shores of Europe remained largely unknown. Here, we combined genetic (microsatellites and mtDNA) and morphological data (shell and male genital morphology) from multiple populations of flat periwinkles in north-western Iberia to assess the extent of current and past hybridization between L. obtusata and L. fabalis under two contrasting geographic settings of divergence (sympatry and allopatry). Hybridization signatures based on both mtDNA and microsatellites were stronger in sympatric sites, although evidence for recent extensive admixture was found in a single location. Misidentification of individuals into species based on shell morphology was higher in sympatric than in allopatric sites. However, despite hybridization, species distinctiveness based on this phenotypic trait together with male genital morphology remained relatively high. The observed variation in the extent of hybridization among locations provides a rare opportunity for future studies on the consequences of different levels of gene flow for reinforcement, thus informing about the mechanisms underlying the completion of speciation.
Project description:Periwinkles of the family Littorinidae (Children, 1834) are common members of seashore littoral communities worldwide. Although the family is composed of more than 200 species belonging to 18 genera, chromosome numbers have been described in only eleven of them. A molecular cytogenetic analysis of nine periwinkle species, the rough periwinkles Littorina arcana, L. saxatilis, and L. compressa, the flat periwinkles L. obtusata and L. fabalis, the common periwinkle L. littorea, the mangrove periwinkle Littoraria angulifera, the beaded periwinkle Cenchritis muricatus, and the small periwinkle Melarhaphe neritoides was performed. All species showed diploid chromosome numbers of 2n = 34, and karyotypes were mostly composed of metacentric and submetacentric chromosome pairs. None of the periwinkle species showed chromosomal differences between male and female specimens. The chromosomal mapping of major and minor rDNA and H3 histone gene clusters by fluorescent in situ hybridization demonstrated that the patterns of distribution of these DNA sequences were conserved among closely related species and differed among less related ones. All signals occupied separated loci on different chromosome pairs without any evidence of co-localization in any of the species.
Project description:The flat periwinkles, Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata, comprise two sister gastropod species that have an enormous potential to elucidate the mechanisms involved in ecological speciation in the marine realm. However, the molecular resources currently available for these species are still scarce. In order to circumvent this limitation, we used RNA-seq data to characterize the transcriptome of four individuals from each species sampled in different locations across the Iberian Peninsula. Four de novo transcriptome assemblies were generated, as well as a pseudo-reference using the L. saxatilis reference transcriptome as backbone. After transcripts' annotation, variant calling resulted in the identification of 19,072 to 45,340 putatively species-diagnostic SNPs. The discriminatory power of a subset of these SNPs was validated by implementing an independent genotyping assay to characterize reference populations, resulting in an accurate classification of individuals into each species and in the identification of hybrids between the two. These data comprise valuable genomic resources for a wide range of evolutionary and conservation studies in flat periwinkles and related taxa.
Project description:Background:The introduction of DNA-based molecular markers made a revolution in biological systematics. However, in cases of very recent divergence events, the neutral divergence may be too slow, and the analysis of adaptive part of the genome is more informative to reconstruct the recent evolutionary history of young species. The advantage of proteomics is its ability to reflect the biochemical machinery of life. It may help both to identify rapidly evolving genes and to interpret their functions. Methods:Here we applied a comparative gel-based proteomic analysis to several species from the gastropod family Littorinidae. Proteomes were clustered to assess differences related to species, geographic location, sex and body part, using data on presence/absence of proteins in samples and data on protein occurrence frequency in samples of different species. Cluster support was assessed using multiscale bootstrap resampling and the stability of clustering-using cluster-wise index of cluster stability. Taxon-specific protein markers were derived using IndVal method. Proteomic trees were compared to consensus phylogenetic tree (based on neutral genetic markers) using estimates of the Robinson-Foulds distance, the Fowlkes-Mallows index and cophenetic correlation. Results:Overall, the DNA-based phylogenetic tree and the proteomic similarity tree had consistent topologies. Further, we observed some interesting deviations of the proteomic littorinid tree from the neutral expectations. (1) There were signs of molecular parallelism in two Littoraria species that phylogenetically are quite distant, but live in similar habitats. (2) Proteome divergence was unexpectedly high between very closely related Littorina fabalis and L. obtusata, possibly reflecting their ecology-driven divergence. (3) Conservative house-keeping proteins were usually identified as markers for cryptic species groups ("saxatilis" and "obtusata" groups in the Littorina genus) and for genera (Littoraria and Echinolittorina species pairs), while metabolic enzymes and stress-related proteins (both potentially adaptively important) were often identified as markers supporting species branches. (4) In all five Littorina species British populations were separated from the European mainland populations, possibly reflecting their recent phylogeographic history. Altogether our study shows that proteomic data, when interpreted in the context of DNA-based phylogeny, can bring additional information on the evolutionary history of species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: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. RESULTS: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. CONCLUSIONS: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.
Project description:Phylogeographic studies of flora in species-rich south-western Australia point to complex evolutionary histories, reflecting patterns of persistence and resilience to climatic changes during the Pleistocene. We asked whether coastal areas of the mid-west and south, as well as granite outcrops and inland ranges, have acted as major refugia within this region during Pleistocene climatic fluctuations by analysing phylogeographic patterns in the shrub Calothamnus quadrifidus R.Br. (Myrtaceae). We determined variation in chloroplast DNA data for 41 populations across the geographic range. Relationships and major clades were resolved using parsimony and Bayesian analyses. We tested for demographic and spatial expansion of the major clades and estimated clade divergence dates using an uncorrelated, lognormal relaxed clock based on two conservative chloroplast mutation rates. Two distinct phylogeographic clades were identified showing divergence during the Pleistocene, consistent with other phylogeographic studies of south-west Australian flora, emphasising the impact of climatic oscillations in driving divergence in this landscape. The southern clade was more diverse, having higher haplotype diversity and greater genetic structure, while the northern clade showed evidence of fluctuation in population size. Regions of high haplotype diversity with adjacent areas of low diversity observed in each clade indicated the locations of two coastal refugia: one on the south coast and another along the mid-west coast. This is the first evidence for major Pleistocene refugia using chloroplast genetic data in a common, widespread species from this region.
Project description:BACKGROUND: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: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. CONCLUSIONS: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.
Project description:Phylogeographic studies give us the opportunity to reconstruct the historical migrations of species and link them with climatic and geographic variation. They are, therefore, a key tool to understanding the relationships among biology, geology and history. One of the most interesting biogeographical areas of the world is the Mediterranean region. However, in this area, the description of concordant phylogeographic patterns is quite scarce, which limits the understanding of evolutionary patterns related to climate. Species with one-dimensional distribution ranges, such as the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), are particularly useful to unravel these patterns. Here, we describe its phylogeographic structure and check for concordance with patterns seen in other Mediterranean plants: longitudinal/latitudinal clines of diversity, evidence for glacial refugia and the role of sea straits in dispersal. We also identify the most likely source for the disjunct Irish population. With this aim, we sequenced four chloroplast non-coding fragments of A. unedo from 23 populations covering its whole distribution. We determined the genetic diversity, population structure, haplotype genealogy and time to the most recent common ancestor. The genealogy revealed two clades that separated during the last 700 ky but before the last glacial maximum. One clade occupies Atlantic Iberia and North Africa, while the other occurs in the Western Mediterranean. The Eastern Mediterranean is inhabited by newer haplotypes derived from both clades, while the Irish population is closely related to Iberian demes. The straits of Sicily and Gibraltar partially restricted the gene flow. We concluded that a vicariance event during the Late Quaternary in the western end of the species' range followed by eastward migration seems a likely explanation for the observed phylogeographic pattern. The role of straits indicates an occasional communication between Europe and North Africa, suggesting that the latter was a novel refugia. The East-West genetic split in Iberia is consistent with the refugia-within-refugia model. Finally, the strawberry tree possibly reached Ireland from Iberia instead of throughout the maritime fringe of France as previously thought.
Project description:The Pleistocene glacial cycles left a genetic legacy on taxa throughout the world; however, the persistence of genetic lineages that diverged during these cycles is dependent upon levels of gene flow and introgression. The consequences of secondary contact among taxa may reveal new insights into the history of the Pleistocene's genetic legacy. Here, we use phylogeographic methods, using 20 nuclear loci from regional populations, to infer the consequences of secondary contact following divergence in the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Analysis of nuclear data identified two geographically-structured genetic groups, largely concordant with results from a previous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) study. Additionally, the estimated multilocus divergence times indicate a Pleistocene divergence, and are highly concordant with mtDNA. The previous mtDNA study showed a paucity of sympatry between clades, while nuclear patterns of gene flow show highly varied patterns between populations. The observed pattern of gene flow, from coalescent-based analyses, indicates southern populations in both clades exhibit little gene flow within or between clades, while northern populations are experiencing higher gene flow within and between clades. If this pattern were to persist, it is possible the historical legacy of Pleistocene divergence may be preserved in the southern populations only, and the northern populations would become a genetically diverse hybrid species.
Project description:Philaenus spumarius is a widespread insect species in the Holarctic region. Here, by focusing on the mtDNA gene COI but also using the COII and Cyt b genes and the nuclear gene EF-1?, we tried to explain how and when its current biogeographic pattern evolved by providing time estimates of the main demographic and evolutionary events and investigating its colonization patterns in and out of Eurasia. Evidence of recent divergence and expansion events at less than 0.5 Ma ago indicate that climate fluctuations in the Mid-Late Pleistocene were important in shaping the current phylogeographic pattern of the species. Data support a first split and differentiation of P. spumarius into two main mitochondrial lineages: the "western", in the Mediterranean region and the "eastern", in Anatolia/Caucasus. It also supports a following differentiation of the "western" lineage into two sub-lineages: the "western-Mediterranean", in Iberia and the "eastern-Mediterranean" in the Balkans. The recent pattern seems to result from postglacial range expansion from Iberia and Caucasus/Anatolia, thus not following one of the four common paradigms. Unexpected patterns of recent gene-flow events between Mediterranean peninsulas, a close relationship between Iberia and North Africa, as well as high levels of genetic diversity being maintained in northern Europe were found. The mitochondrial pattern does not exactly match to the nuclear pattern suggesting that the current biogeographic pattern of P. spumarius may be the result of both secondary admixture and incomplete lineage sorting. The hypothesis of recent colonization of North America from both western and northern Europe is corroborated by our data and probably resulted from accidental human translocations. A probable British origin for the populations of the Azores and New Zealand was revealed, however, for the Azores the distribution of populations in high altitude native forests is somewhat puzzling and may imply a natural colonization of the archipelago.