4 years ago

Pleistocene climatic fluctuations drive isolation and secondary contact in the red diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) in Baja California

Timothy E. Higham, Tod W. Reeder, Sean M. Harrington, Bradford D. Hollingsworth
Aim Many studies have investigated the phylogeographic history of species on the Baja California Peninsula, and they often show one or more genetic breaks that are spatially concordant among many taxa. These phylogeographic breaks are commonly attributed to vicariance as a result of geological or climatic changes, followed by secondary contact when barriers are no longer present. We use restriction-site associated DNA sequence data and a phylogeographic model selection approach to explicitly test the secondary contact hypothesis in the red diamond rattlesnake, Crotalus ruber. Location Baja California and Southern California. Methods We used phylogenetic and population clustering approaches to identify population structure. We then used coalescent methods to simultaneously estimate population parameters and test the fit of phylogeographic models to the data. We used ecological niche models to infer suitable habitat for C. ruber at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Results Crotalus ruber is composed of distinct northern and southern populations with a boundary near the town of Loreto in Baja California Sur. A model of isolation followed by secondary contact provides the best fit to the data, with both divergence and contact occurring in the Pleistocene. We also identify a genomic signature of northern range expansion in the northern population, consistent with LGM niche models showing that the northern-most portion of the range of C. ruber was not suitable habitat during the LGM. Main conclusions We provide the first explicitly model-based test of the secondary contact model in Baja California and show that populations of C. ruber were isolated before coming back into contact near Loreto, a region that shows phylogeographic breaks for other taxa. Given the timing of divergence and contact, we suggest that climatic fluctuations have driven the observed phylogeographic structure observed in C. ruber and that they may have driven similar patterns in other taxa.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13114

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