Recent diversification of a marine genus (Tursiops spp.) tracks habitat preference and environmental change

Moura, Andre E., Nielsen, Sandra C. A., Vilstrup, Julia T. , Moreno-Mayar, J. Victor, Gilbert, M. Thomas P., Gray, Howard W. I., Natoli, Ada, Moller, Luciana and Hoelzel, A. Rus (2013) Recent diversification of a marine genus (Tursiops spp.) tracks habitat preference and environmental change. Systematic Biology, 62 (6). pp. 865-877. ISSN 1063-5157

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Understanding the evolution of diversity and the resulting systematics in marine systems is confounded by the lack of clear boundaries in oceanic habitats, especially for highly mobile species like marine mammals. Dolphin populations and sibling species often showdifferentiation between coastal and offshore habitats, similar to the pelagic/littoral or benthic differentiation seen for some species of fish. Here we test the hypothesis that lineages within the polytypic genus Tursiops track past changes in the environment reflecting ecological drivers of evolution facilitated by habitat release. We used a known recent time point for calibration (the opening of the Bosphorus) and whole mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) sequences for high phylogenetic resolution. The pattern of lineage formation suggested an origin in Australasia and several early divisions involving forms currently inhabiting coastal habitats. Radiation in pelagic environments was relatively recent, and was likely followed by a return to coastal habitat in some regions. The timing of some nodes defining different ecotypes within the genus clustered near the two most recent interglacial transitions. A signal for an increase in diversification was also seen for dates after the last glacial maximum. Together these data suggest the tracking of habitat preference during geographic expansions, followed by transition points reflecting habitat shifts, which were likely associated with periods of environmental change.

Additional Information:First published online: August 8, 2013
Keywords:Climatic oscillations, marine mammal, pleistocene, radiation, speciation
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C400 Genetics
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:13963
Deposited On:18 May 2014 10:34

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