This research was made possible by financial support from the European Network of Excellence EVOLTREE (EVOLution of TREEs as drivers of terrestrial biodiversity) and from INRA Grant P-EFPA6 to Cyrille Conord.
Large-scale longitudinal gradients of genetic diversity: a meta-analysis across six phyla in the Mediterranean basin
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 2, Issue 10, pages 2600–2614, October 2012
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2012; 2(10): 2595–2609
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 14 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 4 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 31 MAY 2012
- European Network of Excellence EVOLTREE
- genetic diversity;
- past climate;
Biodiversity is the diversity of life at all scales, from genes to ecosystems. Predicting its patterns of variation across the globe is a fundamental issue in ecology and evolution. Diversity within species, that is, genetic diversity, is of prime importance for understanding past and present evolutionary patterns, and highlighting areas where conservation might be a priority. Using published data on the genetic diversity of species whose populations occur in the Mediterranean basin, we calculated a coefficient of correlation between within-population genetic diversity indices and longitude. Using a meta-analysis framework, we estimated the role of biological, ecological, biogeographic, and marker type factors on the strength and magnitude of this correlation in six phylla. Overall, genetic diversity increases from west to east in the Mediterranean basin. This correlation is significant for both animals and plants, but is not uniformly expressed for all groups. It is stronger in the southern than in the northern Mediterranean, in true Mediterranean plants than in plants found at higher elevations, in trees than in other plants, and in bi-parentally and paternally than in maternally inherited DNA makers. Overall, this correlation between genetic diversity and longitude, and its patterns across biological and ecological traits, suggests the role of two non-mutually exclusive major processes that shaped the genetic diversity in the Mediterranean during and after the cold periods of the Pleistocene: east-west recolonization during the Holocene and population size contraction under local Last Glacial Maximum climate in resident western and low elevation Mediterranean populations.