Data from: Did Late Pleistocene climate change result in parallel genetic structure and demographic bottlenecks in sympatric Central African crocodiles, Mecistops and Osteolaemus?
Shirley, Matthew H.; Austin, James D. (2017), Data from: Did Late Pleistocene climate change result in parallel genetic structure and demographic bottlenecks in sympatric Central African crocodiles, Mecistops and Osteolaemus?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.82nt3
The mid-Holocene has had profound demographic impacts on wildlife on the African continent, though there is little known about the impacts on species from Central Africa. Understanding the impacts of climate change on co-distributed species can enhance our understanding of ecosystem dynamics and for formulating restoration objectives. We took a multi-genome comparative approach to examine the phylogeographic structure of two poorly known Central African crocodile species - Mecistops sp. aff. cataphractus and Osteolaemus tetraspis. In addition, we conducted coalescent-based demographic reconstructions to test the hypothesis that population decline was driven by climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum, versus more recent anthropogenic pressures. Using a hierarchical Bayesian model to reconstruct demographic history, we show that both species had dramatic declines (> 97%) in effective population size in the period following the Last Glacial Maximum 1,500 – 18,000 YBP. Identification of genetic structuring showed both species have similar regional structure corresponding to major geological features (i.e., hydrologic basin), and that small observed differences between them are best explained by the differences in their ecology and the likely impact that climate change had on their habitat needs. Our results support our hypothesis that climatic effects, presumably on forest and wetland habitat, had a congruent negative impact on both species.
National Science Foundation, Award: 1010574
Democratic Republic of Congo