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Data from: Multiple Quaternary refugia in the eastern Guiana Shield revealed by comparative phylogeography of 12 frog species

Cite this dataset

Fouquet, Antoine et al. (2011). Data from: Multiple Quaternary refugia in the eastern Guiana Shield revealed by comparative phylogeography of 12 frog species [Dataset]. Dryad.


The Guiana Shield is one of the most pristine regions of Amazonia and biologically one of the richest areas on Earth. How and when the massive diversity of life that exists in Amazonia arose remains the subject of considerable debate. The prevailing hypothesis of Quaternary glacial refugia suggests that a part of the eastern Guiana Shield, among other areas in Amazonia, served as stable, forested refugia during periods of aridity. However, the recently proposed Disturbance-Vicariance hypothesis proposes that fluctuations in temperature on orbital timescales, with some associated aridity, have driven Neotropical diversification. The expectations of the temporal and spatial organization of biodiversity differ between these two hypotheses. Here, we compare the genetic structure of 12 leaf-litter inhabiting frog species from the Guiana Shield lowlands using a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence in an integrative analytical approach that includes phylogenetic reconstructions, molecular dating, and Geographic Information System methods. This comparative and integrated approach overcomes the well-known limitations of phylogeographic inference based on single species and single loci. All of the focal species exhibit distinct phylogeographic patterns highlighting taxon specific historical distributions, ecological tolerances to climatic disturbance and dispersal abilities. Nevertheless, all but one species exhibit a history of fragmentation/isolation within the eastern Guiana Shield during the Quaternary with spatial and temporal concordance among species. The signature of isolation in northern French Guiana during the early Pleistocene is particularly clear. The simultaneity of the divergence between Northern French Guiana and other Guiana Shield lineages is supported by Approximate Bayesian Computation. Sub-structure observed throughout the Guiana Shield suggests further Quaternary fragmentation and a role for rivers. Our findings support fragmentation of moist tropical forest in the eastern Guiana Shield during this period when the Refuge Hypothesis would have the region serving as a contiguous wet-forest refuge.

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