Is Gene Flow Promoting the Reversal of Pleistocene Divergence in the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)?

Joseph D. Manthey, John Klicka, Garth M. Spellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Pleistocene glacial cycles left a genetic legacy on taxa throughout the world; however, the persistence of genetic lineages that diverged during these cycles is dependent upon levels of gene flow and introgression. The consequences of secondary contact among taxa may reveal new insights into the history of the Pleistocene's genetic legacy. Here, we use phylogeographic methods, using 20 nuclear loci from regional populations, to infer the consequences of secondary contact following divergence in the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Analysis of nuclear data identified two geographically-structured genetic groups, largely concordant with results from a previous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) study. Additionally, the estimated multilocus divergence times indicate a Pleistocene divergence, and are highly concordant with mtDNA. The previous mtDNA study showed a paucity of sympatry between clades, while nuclear patterns of gene flow show highly varied patterns between populations. The observed pattern of gene flow, from coalescent-based analyses, indicates southern populations in both clades exhibit little gene flow within or between clades, while northern populations are experiencing higher gene flow within and between clades. If this pattern were to persist, it is possible the historical legacy of Pleistocene divergence may be preserved in the southern populations only, and the northern populations would become a genetically diverse hybrid species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49218
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 12 2012

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