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Reconstructing hotspots of genetic diversity from glacial refugia and subsequent dispersal in Italian common toads (Bufo bufo)

Citation

Chiocchio, Andrea et al. (2020), Reconstructing hotspots of genetic diversity from glacial refugia and subsequent dispersal in Italian common toads (Bufo bufo), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qz612jmc6

Abstract

Genetic diversity feeds the evolutionary process and allows populations to adapt to environmental changes. However, we still lack a thorough understanding of why hotspots of genetic diversity are so 'hot'. Here, we analysed the relative contribution of bioclimatic stability and genetic admixture between divergent lineages in shaping spatial patterns of genetic diversity in the common toad Bufo bufo along the Italian peninsula. We combined population genetic, phylogeographic and species distribution modelling (SDM) approaches to map ancestral areas, glacial refugia, and secondary contact zones. We consistently identified three phylogeographic lineages, distributed in northern, central and southern Italy. These lineages expanded from their ancestral areas and established secondary contact zones, before the last interglacial. SDM identified widespread glacial refugia in peninsular Italy, sometimes located under the present-day sea-level. Generalized linear models indicated genetic admixture as the only significant predictor of the levels of population genetic diversity. Our results show that glacial refugia contributed to preserving both levels and patterns of genetic diversity across glacial-interglacial cycles, but not to their formation, and highlight a general principle emerging in Mediterranean species: higher levels of genetic diversity mark populations with substantial contributions from multiple genetic lineages, irrespective of the location of glacial refugia.

Funding

Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research - PRIN Project, Award: 2012FRHYRA

Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research - PRIN Project, Award: 2012FRHYRA