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QUANTIFYING THE PLEISTOCENE HISTORY OF THE OAK GALL PARASITOID CECIDOSTIBA FUNGOSA USING TWENTY INTRON LOCI

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Abstract

The longitudinal spread of temperate organisms into refugial populations in Southern Europe is generally assumed to predate the last interglacial. However, few studies have attempted to quantify this process in nonmodel organisms using explicit models and multilocus data. We used sequence data for 20 intron-spanning loci (12 kb per individual) to resolve the history of refugial populations of a widespread western Palaearctic oak gall parasitoid Cecidostiba fungosa (Pteromalidae). Using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods we assess alternative population tree topologies and estimate divergence times and ancestral population sizes under a model of divergence between three refugia (Middle East, Balkans and Iberia). Both methods support an “Out of the East” history for C. fungosa, matching the pattern previously inferred for their gallwasp hosts. However, coalescent-based estimates of the ages of population divides are much more recent (coinciding with the Eemian interglacial) than nodal ages of single gene trees for C. fungosa and other species. We also find that increasing the sample size from one haploid sequence per refugial population to three only marginally improves parameter estimates. Our results suggest that there is significant information in the minimal samples currently analyzable with maximum likelihood methods, and that similar methods could be applied to multiple species to test alternative models of assemblage evolution.

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