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Genetic divergence across glacial refugia despite interglacial gene flow in a crested newt


Wielstra, Ben; Salvi, Daniele; Canestrelli, Daniele (2020), Genetic divergence across glacial refugia despite interglacial gene flow in a crested newt, Dryad, Dataset,


MtDNA-based phylogeography has illuminated the impact of the Pleistocene Ice Age on species distribution dynamics and the build-up of genetic divergence. The well-known shortcomings of mtDNA in biogeographical inference can be compensated by integrating multilocus data and species distribution modelling into phylogeography. We re-visit the phylogeography of the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex), a species distributed in two of Europe’s main glacial refugia, the Balkan and Italian Peninsulas. While a new 51 nuclear DNA marker dataset supports the existence of three lineages previously suggested by mtDNA (Balkan, northern Italy and southern Italy), the nuclear DNA dataset also provides improved resolution where these lineages have obtained secondary contact. We observe geographically restricted admixture at the contact between the Balkan and northern Italy gene pools and identify a potential mtDNA ghost lineage here. At the contact between the northern and southern Italy gene pools we find admixture over a broader area, as well as asymmetric mtDNA introgression. Our species distribution model is in agreement with a distribution restricted to distinct refugia during Pleistocene glacial cycles and postglacial expansion with secondary contact. Our study supports: (1) the relevance of the north-western Balkan Peninsula as a discrete glacial refugium; (2) the importance of north-eastern Italy and the northern Apennine as suture zones; and (3) the applicability of a refugia-within-refugia scenario within the Italian Peninsula.