Congruent morphological and genetic differentiation as a signature of range expansion in a fragmented landscape
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 12, pages 4172–4182, October 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(12): 4172–4182
- Issue published online: 23 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 31 JUL 2013
- NSERC Discovery. Grant Number: 341918
- Climate change;
- range shift;
- white-footed mouse
Phenotypic differentiation is often interpreted as a result of local adaptation of individuals to their environment. Here, we investigated the skull morphological differentiation in 11 populations of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). These populations were sampled in an agricultural landscape in the Montérégie region (Québec, Canada), at the northern edge of the distribution of the white-footed mouse. We found a strong pattern of phenotypic differentiation matching the genetic structure across these populations. Landscape fragmentation and the presence of geographic barriers, in particular north–south oriented rivers, contribute to this differentiation and modulate the pattern of rapid ongoing northward range expansion of the white-footed mouse in response to climate warming. We conclude that while large rivers and postglacial recolonization routes have shaped the current pattern of distribution and differentiation of white-footed mouse populations, further local differentiation is occurring, at the scale of the landscape. We posit that the northern expansion of the white-footed mouse is achieved through successive independent founder events in a fragmented landscape at the northern range edge of the species. The phenotypic differentiation we observe is thus a result of a number of mechanisms operating at different spatial and temporal scales.