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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32332. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032332. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Phylogeography of Sardinian cave salamanders (genus Hydromantes) is mainly determined by geomorphology.

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  • 1Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, CNRS-UMR n° 5554, CC 064, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France. yle@yleniachiari.it

Abstract

Detecting the factors that determine the interruption of gene flow between populations is key to understanding how speciation occurs. In this context, caves are an excellent system for studying processes of colonization, differentiation and speciation, since they represent discrete geographical units often with known geological histories. Here, we asked whether discontinuous calcareous areas and cave systems represent major barriers to gene flow within and among the five species of Sardinian cave salamanders (genus Hydromantes) and whether intraspecific genetic structure parallels geographic distance within and among caves. We generated mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences from 184 individuals representing 48 populations, and used a Bayesian phylogeographic approach to infer possible areas of cladogenesis for these species and reconstruct historical and current dispersal routes among distinct populations. Our results show deep genetic divergence within and among all Sardinian cave salamander species, which can mostly be attributed to the effects of mountains and discontinuities in major calcareous areas and cave systems acting as barriers to gene flow. While these salamander species can also occur outside caves, our results indicate that there is a very poor dispersal of these species between separate cave systems.

PMID:
22427830
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3299655
Free PMC Article

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