The roles of climate, geography and natural selection as drivers of genetic and phenotypic differentiation in a widespread amphibian Hyla annectans (Anura: Hylidae)
The role of geological events and Pleistocene climatic fluctuations as drivers of current patterns of genetic variation in extant species has been a topic of continued interest among evolutionary biologists. Nevertheless, comprehensive studies of widely distributed species are still rare, especially from Asia. Using geographically extensive sampling of many individuals and a large number of nuclear single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we studied the phylogeography and historical demography of Hyla annectans populations in southern China. Thirty-five sampled populations were grouped into seven clearly defined genetic clusters that closely match phenotype-based subspecies classification. These lineages diverged 2.32–5.23 million years ago, a timing that closely aligns with the rapid and drastic uplifting of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and adjacent southwest China. Demographic analyses and species distribution models indicate that different populations of this species have responded differently to past climatic changes. In the Hengduan Mountains, most populations experienced a bottleneck, whereas the populations located outside of the Hengduan Mountains have gradually declined in size since the end of the last glaciation. In addition, the levels of phenotypic and genetic divergence were strongly correlated across major clades. These results highlight the combined effects of geological events and past climatic fluctuations, as well as natural selection, as drivers of contemporary patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation in a widely distributed anuran in Asia.
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- 10.1111/mec.15584 (DOI)