Get access

A relict bank vole lineage highlights the biogeographic history of the Pyrenean region in Europe

Authors

  • VALÉRIE DEFFONTAINE,

    1. Unité de recherches zoogéographiques, University of Liège, Bât. B22, Boulevard du Rectorat, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium,
    2. INRA, UMR 1064 CBGP, Campus international de Baillarguet, CS30016, F-34988 Montferrier sur Lez cedex, France,
    3. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow, Graham Kerr Building, Room 314, University Avenue, G128QQ Glasgow, UK,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • RONAN LEDEVIN,

    1. UMR 5125 PEPS, CNRS, Université Lyon 1, Campus de la Doua, Bâtiment Géode, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • MICHAËL C. FONTAINE,

    1. INRA, UMR 1064 CBGP, Campus international de Baillarguet, CS30016, F-34988 Montferrier sur Lez cedex, France,
    2. MARE Center, Laboratory for Oceanology, University of Liège, Bât. B6c, Allée de la Chimie, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium,
    3. Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, Bât. 360, Orsay, France,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • JEAN-PIERRE QUÉRÉ,

    1. INRA, UMR 1064 CBGP, Campus international de Baillarguet, CS30016, F-34988 Montferrier sur Lez cedex, France,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • SABRINA RENAUD,

    1. UMR 5125 PEPS, CNRS, Université Lyon 1, Campus de la Doua, Bâtiment Géode, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ROLAND LIBOIS,

    1. Unité de recherches zoogéographiques, University of Liège, Bât. B22, Boulevard du Rectorat, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • JOHAN R. MICHAUX

    1. INRA, UMR 1064 CBGP, Campus international de Baillarguet, CS30016, F-34988 Montferrier sur Lez cedex, France,
    2. Laboratoire de génétique des microorganismes, University of Liège, Bât. B22, Boulevard du Rectorat, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author

Valérie Deffontaine, Fax: +32(0)71354072; E-mail: vdeffontaine@ulg.ac.be

Abstract

The Pyrenean region exhibits high levels of endemism suggesting a major contribution to the phylogeography of European species. But, to date, the role of the Pyrenees and surrounding areas as a glacial refugium for temperate species remains poorly explored. In the current study, we investigated the biogeographic role of the Pyrenean region through the analyses of genetic polymorphism and morphology of a typical forest-dwelling small mammal, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and the third upper molar (M3) show a complex phylogeographic structure in the Pyrenean region with at least three distinct lineages: the Western European, Spanish and Basque lineages. The Basque lineage in the northwestern (NW) Pyrenees was identified as a new clearly differentiated and geographically localized bank vole lineage in Europe. The average M3 shape of Basque bank voles suggests morphological differentiation but also restricted genetic exchanges with other populations. Our genetic and morphological results as well as palaeo-environmental and fossils records support the hypothesis of a new glacial refugium in Europe situated in the NW Pyrenees. The permissive microclimatic conditions that prevailed for a long time in this region may have allowed the survival of temperate species, including humans. Moreover, local differentiation around the Pyrenees is favoured by the opportunity for populations to track the shift of the vegetation belt in altitude rather than in latitude. The finding of the Basque lineage is in agreement with the high level of endemic taxa reported in the NW Pyrenees.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary