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Comparative phylogeography of two sibling species of forest-dwelling rodent (Praomys rostratus and P. tullbergi) in West Africa: different reactions to past forest fragmentation

Authors

  • V. NICOLAS,

    1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et Evolution, UMR 5202, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France,
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  • J. BRYJA,

    1. Department of Population Biology, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 675 02 Studenec 122, Czech Republic,
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  • B. AKPATOU,

    1. Laboratoire de Zoologie et Biologie Animale, Université de Cocody, UFR Bio-Sciences, 22 B.P. 582 Abidjan22, République de Côte d’Ivoire,
    2. Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, 01 BP 1303 Abidjan 01, Km 17, route de Dabou. Abidjan, République de Côte d’Ivoire,
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  • A. KONECNY,

    1. Department of Population Biology, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 675 02 Studenec 122, Czech Republic,
    2. Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations (UMR 022), IRD Campus international Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez cedex, France
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  • E. LECOMPTE,

    1. UMR CNRS/UPS 5174, Université Paul Sabatier, Bat. 4R3, 118 route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse cedex 9, France,
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  • M. COLYN,

    1. UMR CNRS 6553 Ecobio, Université de Rennes 1, Station Biologique, 35380 Paimpont, France,
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  • A. LALIS,

    1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et Evolution, UMR 5202, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France,
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  • A. COULOUX,

    1. Genoscope, Centre National de Sequençage, 2, rue Gaston Crémieux, CP5706, 91057 Evry Cedex, France,
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  • C. DENYS,

    1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et Evolution, UMR 5202, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 57 rue Cuvier, CP 51, 75005 Paris, France,
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  • L. GRANJON

    1. Centre de Biologie et de Gestion des Populations (UMR 022), IRD Campus international Baillarguet, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez cedex, France
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Violaine Nicolas, Fax: (33) 1 40 79 30 63. E-mail: vnicolas@mnhn.fr

Abstract

Two sibling species of the rodent genus Praomys occur in West African forests: P. tullbergi and P. rostratus. By sampling across their geographical ranges (459 individuals from 77 localities), we test the hypothesis that climatic oscillations during the Quaternary made an impact on the observed pattern of cytochrome b sequence variation. We show that, although these two species have parapatric geographical distributions, their phylogeographical histories are dissimilar, which could be related to their distinct ecological requirements. Since the arid phases of the Pleistocene were characterized by isolated forest patches, and intervening wetter periods by forest expansion, these changes in forest cover may be the common mechanism responsible for the observed phylogeographical patterns in both of these species. For example, in both species, most clades had either allopatric or parapatric geographical distributions; however, genetic diversity was much lower in P. tullbergi than in P. rostratus. The genetic pattern of P. tullbergi fits the refuge hypothesis, indicating that a very small number of populations survived in distinct forest blocks during the arid phases, then expanded again with forest recovery. In contrast, a number of populations of P. rostratus appear to have survived during the dry periods in more fragmented forest habitats, with varying levels of gene flow between these patches depending on climatic conditions and forest extent. In addition, historical variations of the West African hydrographic network could also have contributed to the pattern of genetic differentiation observed in both species.

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