Phylogeography of a post-glacial colonizer: Microtus longicaudus (Rodentia: Muridae)

Authors

  • C. J. Conroy,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Alaska Museum and Institute of Arctic Biology, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-6960, USA
      *Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA. Fax: +650-725-8221; E-mail: Chris J. Conroy. *Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA. Fax: +650-725-8221; E-mail: chris.conroy@stanford.edu
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  • J. A. Cook

    1. University of Alaska Museum and Institute of Arctic Biology, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-6960, USA
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Chris J. Conroy. *Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA. Fax: +650-725-8221; E-mail: chris.conroy@stanford.edu

Abstract

The molecular phylogeography of Microtus longicaudus was investigated with DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. We used phylogenetic and pairwise distance methods to reconstruct the history of the species with particular emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. Genetic variation across the species was consistent with vicariant events during the Pleistocene and subsequent northern postglacial expansion following the receding Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. The largest break (> 6% uncorrected sequence divergence) was found to exist between populations found southeast of the Colorado River (eastern Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) and all other western populations. Other well-supported subclades were composed of samples from: (i) the islands and north coast of southeast Alaska; (ii) eastern Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon; and (iii) northern California, Idaho and Montana. Within subclades, divergence was low. Our results suggest that the close relationships among haplotypes within northern subclades are a result of recent colonization, whereas higher among-subclade divergence is caused by genetic differentiation during prolonged periods of isolation, possibly as a result of mid-Pleistocene climatic events.

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