Phylogeography of Bufo fowleri at its northern range limit

Authors

  • M. A. SMITH,

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    1. Redpath Museum, McGill University, 859 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2K6
      M. Alex Smith, Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1. Fax: 519-767-1656, E-mail: alex.smith@mail.mcgill.ca
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  • D. M. GREEN

    1. Redpath Museum, McGill University, 859 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2K6
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M. Alex Smith, Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1. Fax: 519-767-1656, E-mail: alex.smith@mail.mcgill.ca

Abstract

Many of the species that recolonized previously glaciated areas in the Great Lakes basin of North America over the past 10–12 000 years exhibit genetic evidence of multiple invasion routes and present-day secondary contact between deeply divergent lineages. With this in mind, we investigated the phylogeographical structure of genetic variability in Fowler's toads (Bufo fowleri) at the northern edge of its distribution where its range encircles the Lake Erie basin. Because B. fowleri is so closely tied to habitats along the Lake Erie shoreline, we would expect to find clear evidence of the number of invasions leading to the species’ colonization of the northern shore. A 540 bp sequence from the mitochondrial control region was amplified and analysed for 158 individuals from 21 populations. Interpopulation sequence variation ranged from 0% to 6%. Phylogenetic analysis of p-distance using the neighbor-joining method revealed two deeply divergent (6% sequence divergence) mtDNA lineages (Phylogroup 1 and 2), possibly arising as a result of secondary contact of populations that entered the region from two separate glacial refugia. However, the phylogeographical pattern was not simple. The populations at Long Point, on the north shore of Lake Erie, clustered with the population from Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan to form Phylogroup 2 whereas all other B. fowleri populations examined from both sides of Lake Erie constituted Phylogroup 1. Furthermore, mtDNA sequences from the related species Bufo americanus, obtained from populations outside the range of B. fowleri, clustered with mtDNA haplotypes of B. fowleri Phylogroup 1, indicating the possibility of partial introgression of mitochondria from one species to the other.

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