Gene lineages and eastern North American palaeodrainage basins: Phylogeography and speciation in salamanders of the Eurycea bislineata species complex

Kenneth H. Kozak, Russell A. Blaine, Allan Larson

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128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Contemporary North American drainage basins are composites of formerly isolated drainages, suggesting that fragmentation and fusion of palaeodrainage systems may have been an important factor generating current patterns of genetic and species diversity in stream-associated organisms. Here, we combine traditional molecular-phylogenetic, multiple-regression, nested clade, and molecular-demographic analyses to investigate the relationship between phylogeographic variation and the hydrogeological history of eastern North American drainage basins in semiaquatic plethodontid salamanders of the Eurycea bislineata species complex. Four hundred forty-two sequences representing 1108 aligned bases from the mitochondrial genome are reported for the five formally recognized species of the E. bislineata complex and three outgroup taxa. Within the ingroup, 270 haplotypes are recovered from 144 sampling locations. Geographic patterns of mtDNA-haplotype coalescence identify 13 putatively independent population-level lineages, suggesting that the current taxonomy of the group underestimates species-level diversity. Spatial and temporal patterns of phylogeographic divergence are strongly associated with historical rather than modern drainage connections, indicating that shifts in major drainage patterns played a pivotal role in the allopatric fragmentation of populations and build-up of lineage diversity in these stream-associated salamanders. More generally, our molecular genetic results corroborate geological and faunistic evidence suggesting that palaeodrainage connections altered by glacial advances and headwater erosion occurring between the mid-Miocene and Pleistocene epochs explain regional patterns of biodiversity in eastern North American streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular ecology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Keywords

  • Amphibia
  • Appalachian Mountains
  • Biogeography
  • Drainage history
  • Plethodontidae
  • Stream capture
  • Vicariance

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