• coalescence;
  • migration;
  • mitochondrial DNA;
  • phylogeography;
  • population expansion;
  • speciation


To investigate the evolutionary and biogeographical history of Peromyscus keeni and P. maniculatus within the coastal forest ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest of North America, we sampled 128 individuals from 43 localities from southeastern Alaska through Oregon. We analysed mitochondrial DNA variation using DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome-b (cyt-b) gene and control region, and we found two distinct clades consistent with the morphological designation of the two species. The sequence divergence between the two clades was 0.0484 substitutions per site for cyt-b and 0.0396 for the control region, suggesting that divergence of the two clades occurred during the middle to late Pleistocene. We also examined the historical demography of the two clades using stepwise and exponential expansion models, both of which indicated recent rapid population growth. Furthermore, using the program migrate we found evidence of migration from populations north of the Fraser River (British Columbia) to the south in both clades. This study demonstrates the utility of these model-based demographic methods in illuminating the evolutionary and biogegographic history of natural systems.