Data from: Range expansion and retraction along a moving contact zone has no effect on the genetic diversity of two passerine birds
Engler, Jan O. et al. (2015), Data from: Range expansion and retraction along a moving contact zone has no effect on the genetic diversity of two passerine birds, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c4k68
Disentangling the factors shaping species distributions remains a central goal in biogeography, ecology and evolutionary biology. The extrinsic pressures that may facilitate range shifts, such as climatic factors or biotic interactions are well known. However, in contrast, the possible intrinsic factors are manifold and hard to generalize across taxa. Recently, several theoretical studies have investigated the consequences of moving range borders on genetic diversity. However, empirical studies that support or refute these theoretical predictions are scarce. Moving contact zones between parapatric sister species are suitable models to test these hypotheses. Changes in genetic diversity can be tested simultaneously along the expanding and receding edges of two species of the contact zone while accounting for intra-specific effects (e.g. introgression). The two Old World warblers Hippolais polyglotta and H. icterina form a narrow moving contact zone, where interspecific interactions are suspected to be the main factor shaping this zone. We investigated the population genetic structure of both species along a transect ranging from the core range of the expanding H. polyglotta across the contact zone and far into the range of the receding H. icterina. The theoretical predictions of changes in genetic diversity at the range edges were tested. No gradual change in genetic diversity was detected for both the expanding and the receding range margin. Furthermore, no genetic structure was found in either species supporting the hypothesis that long distance dispersal (LDD) occurs frequently due to the high mobility of these long-distance migrants. The results suggest that when dispersal propensity is high and accompanied by frequent LDD events, then neither an enrichment nor a depletion of alleles along moving range edges would be detected. Hence, our empirical results stand in contrast to theoretical predictions. Thissuggests that these very mobile species are able to retain genetic diversity during range shifts.