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Proc Biol Sci. 2002 Oct 22;269(1505):2071-7.

Multiple glacial refugia in the North American Arctic: inference from phylogeography of the collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus).

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Division of Zoology, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


Cryptic northern refugia beyond the ice limit of the Pleistocene glaciations may have had significant influence on the current pattern of biodiversity in Arctic regions. In order to evaluate whether northern glacial refugia existed in the Canadian Arctic, we examined mitochondrial DNA phylogeography in the northernmost species of rodents, the collared lemming (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus) sampled across its range of distribution in the North American Arctic and Greenland. The division of the collared lemming into the Canadian Arctic and eastern Beringia phylogroups does not support postglacial colonization of the North American Arctic from a single eastern Beringia refugium. Rather, the phylogeographical structure and sparse fossil records indicate that, during the last glaciation, some biologically significant refugia and important sources of postglacial colonization were located to the northwest of the main ice sheet in the Canadian Arctic.

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