Data from: New insights on postglacial colonisation in Western Europe: the phylogeography of the Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri)
Boston, Emma S. M. et al. (2015), Data from: New insights on postglacial colonisation in Western Europe: the phylogeography of the Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6g6r6
Despite recent advances in the understanding of the interplay between a dynamic physical environment and phylogeography in Europe, the origins of contemporary Irish biota remain uncertain. Current thinking is that Ireland was colonized post-glacially from southern European refugia, following the end of the last glacial maximum (LGM), some 20 000 years BP. The Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri), one of the few native Irish mammal species, is widely distributed throughout Europe but, with the exception of Ireland, is generally rare and considered vulnerable. We investigate the origins and phylogeographic relationships of Irish populations in relation to those across Europe, including the closely related species N. azoreum. We use a combination of approaches, including mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers, in addition to approximate Bayesian computation and palaeo-climatic species distribution modelling. Molecular analyses revealed two distinct and diverse European mitochondrial DNA lineages, which probably diverged in separate glacial refugia. A western lineage, restricted to Ireland, Britain and the Azores, comprises Irish and British N. leisleri and N. azoreum specimens; an eastern lineage is distributed throughout mainland Europe. Palaeo-climatic projections indicate suitable habitats during the LGM, including known glacial refugia, in addition to potential novel cryptic refugia along the western fringe of Europe. These results may be applicable to populations of many species.