Mitochondrial phylogeography and population history of pine martens Martes martes compared with polecats Mustela putorius

Authors

  • Angus Davison,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Genetics, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, UK,
    2. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, 3 & 4 Bronsil Courtyard, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1EP, UK,
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  • Johnny D. S. Birks,

    1. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, 3 & 4 Bronsil Courtyard, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1EP, UK,
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  • Rachael C. Brookes,

    1. Institute of Genetics, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2UH, UK,
    2. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, 3 & 4 Bronsil Courtyard, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1EP, UK,
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  • John E. Messenger,

    1. The Vincent Wildlife Trust, 3 & 4 Bronsil Courtyard, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1EP, UK,
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  • Huw I. Griffiths

    1. Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, University of Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
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A. Davison. Present address: Biological Institute, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Aramaki-Aza-Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980–8578, Japan. Tel/Fax: 81 22 2177813; E-mail: a.davison@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk

Abstract

The flora and fauna of Europe are linked by a common biogeographic history, most recently the Pleistocene glaciations that restricted the range of most species to southern refugial populations. Changes in population size and migration, as well as selection, have all left a signature on the genetic differentiation. Thus, three paradigms of postglacial recolonization have been described, inferred from the patterns of DNA differentiation. Yet some species, especially wide-ranging carnivores, exhibit little population structuring between the proposed refugia, although relatively few have been studied due to the difficulty of obtaining samples. Therefore, we investigated mitochondrial variation in pine martens, Martes martes, in order to understand the extent to which they were affected by glacial cycles, and compared the results with an analysis of sequences from polecats, Mustela putorius. A general lack of ancient lineages, and a mismatch distribution that is consistent with an expanding population, is evidence that the present-day M. martes and Mu. putorius in central and northern Europe colonized from a single European refugium following a recent glaciation. There has also been interspecific mitochondrial introgression between M. martes and the sable M. zibellina in Fennoscandia.

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