Radically different phylogeographies and patterns of genetic variation in two European brown frogs, genus Rana
We reconstruct range-wide phylogeographies of two widespread and largely co-occurring Western Palearctic frogs, Rana temporaria and R. dalmatina. Based on tissue or saliva samples of over 1000 individuals, we compare a variety of genetic marker systems, including mitochondrial DNA, single-copy protein-coding nuclear genes, microsatellite loci, and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of transcriptomes of both species. The two focal species differ radically in their phylogeographic structure, with R. temporaria being strongly variable among and within populations, and R. dalmatina homogeneous across Europe with a single strongly differentiated population in southern Italy. These differences were observed across the various markers studied, including microsatellites and SNP density, but especially in protein-coding nuclear genes where R. dalmatina had extremely low heterozygosity values across its range, including potential refugial areas. On the contrary, R. temporaria had comparably high range-wide values, including many areas of probable postglacial colonization. A phylogeny of R. temporaria based on various concatenated mtDNA genes revealed that two haplotype clades endemic to Iberia form a paraphyletic group at the base of the cladogram, and all other haplotypes form a monophyletic group, in agreement with an Iberian origin of the species. Demographic analysis suggests that R. temporaria and R. dalmatina have genealogies of roughly the same time to coalescence (TMRCA ~3.5 mya for both species), but R. temporaria might have been characterized by larger ancestral and current effective population sizes than R. dalmatina. The high genetic variation in R. temporaria can therefore be explained by its early range expansion out of Iberia, with subsequent cycles of differentiation in cryptic glacial refugial areas followed by admixture, while the range expansion of R. dalmatina into central Europe is a probably more recent event.