Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Idiosyncratic responses to drivers of genetic differentiation in the complex landscapes of Isthmian Central America

Citation

García-Rodríguez, Adrián et al. (2020), Idiosyncratic responses to drivers of genetic differentiation in the complex landscapes of Isthmian Central America, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2jm63xsn0

Abstract

Isthmian Central America (ICA) is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, hosting an exceptionally high number of species per unit area. ICA was formed < 25 million years ago and, consequently, its biotic assemblage is relatively young and derived from both colonization and in situ diversification. Despite intensive taxonomic work on the local fauna, the potential forces driving genetic divergences and ultimately speciation in ICA remain poorly studied. Here, we used a landscape genetics approach to test whether isolation by distance, topography, habitat suitability, or environment drive the genetic diversity of the regional frog assemblage. To this end, we combined data on landscape features and mitochondrial DNA sequence variation for nine co-distributed amphibian species with disparate life histories. In five species, we found that at least one of the factors tested explained patterns of genetic divergence. However, rather than finding a general pattern, our results revealed idiosyncratic responses to historical and ecological processes, indicating that intrinsic life-history characteristics may determine the effect of different drivers of isolation on genetic divergence in ICA. Our work also suggests that the convergence of several factors promoting isolation among populations over a heterogeneous landscape might maximize genetic differentiation despite short geographical distances. In conclusion, abiotic factors and geographical features have differentially affected the genetic diversity across the regional frog assemblage. Much more complex models (i.e. considering multiple drivers), beyond simple vicariance of Caribbean and Pacific lineages are needed to better understand the evolutionary history of ICA’s diverse biotas.