Groups of proximate continental islands may conceal more tangled phylogeographic patterns than oceanic archipelagos as a consequence of repeated sea level changes, which allow populations to experience gene flow during periods of low sea level stands and isolation by vicariant mechanisms during periods of high sea level stands. Here, we describe for the first time an ancient and diverging lineage of the Italian wall lizard Podarcis siculus from the western Pontine Islands. We used nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences of 156 individuals with the aim of unraveling their phylogenetic position, while microsatellite loci were used to test several a priori insular biogeographic models of migration with empirical data. Our results suggest that the western Pontine populations colonized the islands early during their Pliocene volcanic formation, while populations from the eastern Pontine Islands seem to have been introduced recently. The inter-island genetic makeup indicates an important role of historical migration, probably due to glacial land bridges connecting islands followed by a recent vicariant mechanism of isolation. Moreover, the most supported migration model predicted higher gene flow among islands which are geographically arranged in parallel. Considering the threatened status of small insular endemic populations, we suggest this new evolutionarily independent unit be given priority in conservation efforts.

Spotlight on islands.On the origin and diversification of an ancient lineage of the Italian wall lizard Podarcis siculus in the western Pontine Islands

Gabriele Senczuk;
2018

Abstract

Groups of proximate continental islands may conceal more tangled phylogeographic patterns than oceanic archipelagos as a consequence of repeated sea level changes, which allow populations to experience gene flow during periods of low sea level stands and isolation by vicariant mechanisms during periods of high sea level stands. Here, we describe for the first time an ancient and diverging lineage of the Italian wall lizard Podarcis siculus from the western Pontine Islands. We used nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences of 156 individuals with the aim of unraveling their phylogenetic position, while microsatellite loci were used to test several a priori insular biogeographic models of migration with empirical data. Our results suggest that the western Pontine populations colonized the islands early during their Pliocene volcanic formation, while populations from the eastern Pontine Islands seem to have been introduced recently. The inter-island genetic makeup indicates an important role of historical migration, probably due to glacial land bridges connecting islands followed by a recent vicariant mechanism of isolation. Moreover, the most supported migration model predicted higher gene flow among islands which are geographically arranged in parallel. Considering the threatened status of small insular endemic populations, we suggest this new evolutionarily independent unit be given priority in conservation efforts.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11695/89051
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