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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2011 Feb;58(2):343-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.026. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Amphibian phylogeography in the Antipodes: Refugia and postglacial colonization explain mitochondrial haplotype distribution in the Patagonian frog Eupsophus calcaratus (Cycloramphidae).

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Instituto de Zoología, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.


Climatic oscillations, heterogeneity in elevation, topographical position, and isolation time in southwestern Patagonia have been important in promoting diversification of the biota. Geological studies have shown that this region had wide ice-free areas during periods of the last glacial maximum and provided forested refugia for the biota during Pleistocene glaciations. In this study, we sampled the endemic frog Eupsophus calcaratus from 20 localities, covering most of its distribution and including glaciated and non-glaciated regions. We collected DNA sequences for three mitochondrial regions (D-loop, cyt b, 16S), and describe patterns of variation consistent with a history of both the displacement to glacial refugia and recent recolonization to extensively glaciated regions. The inferred demographic history and divergence times of the lineages of E. calcaratus suggest that the Pleistocene had profound effects on the genetic patterns within this taxon in which some populations were able to survive in refugia within colder regions followed by demographic increases but without evidence of significant range expansion. The mtDNA gene tree recovers six major haploclades of E. calcaratus, which we consider diagnostic of species lineages. These results contribute to our understanding of how geological events, predominately glacial oscillations, have influenced current population structure of a broad-ranging, ectothermic vertebrate in the Valdivian Forest region of southern South America.

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