Molecular phylogenetics and historical biogeography of the west-palearctic common toads (Bufo bufo species complex)
Animals, Bayes Theorem, Biological Evolution, Bufo bufo, Bufo bufo: classification, Bufo bufo: genetics, DNA, genetic, Isoenzymes, Isoenzymes: genetics, Mitochondrial, Mitochondrial: genetics, Models, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Sequence Analysis
In most pan-Eurasiatic species complexes, two phenomena have been traditionally considered key processes of their cladogenesis and biogeography. First, it is hypothesized that the origin and development of the Central Asian Deserts generated a biogeographic barrier that fragmented past continuous distributions in Eastern and Western domains. Second, Pleistocene glaciations have been proposed as the main process driving the regional diversification within each of these domains. The European common toad and its closest relatives provide an interesting opportunity to examine the relative contributions of these paleogeographic and paleoclimatic events to the phylogeny and biogeography of a widespread Eurasiatic group. We investigate this issue by applying a multiproxy approach combining information from molecular phylogenies, a multiple correspondence analysis of allozyme data and species distribution models. Our study includes 304 specimens from 164 populations, covering most of the distributional range of the Bufo bufo species complex in the Western Palearctic. The phylogenies (ML and Bayesian analyses) were based on a total of 1988 bp of mitochondrial DNA encompassing three genes (tRNAval, 16S and ND1). A dataset with 173 species of the family Bufonidae was assembled to estimate the separation of the two pan-Eurasiatic species complexes of Bufo and to date the main biogeographic events within the Bufo bufo species complex. The allozyme study included sixteen protein systems, corresponding to 21 presumptive loci. Finally, the distribution models were based on maximum entropy. Our distribution models show that Eastern and Western species complexes are greatly isolated by the Central Asian Deserts, and our dating estimates place this divergence during the Middle Miocene, a moment in which different sources of evidence document a major upturn of the aridification rate of Central Asia. This climate-driven process likely separated the Eastern and Western species. At the level of the Western Palearctic, our dating estimates place most of the deepest phylogenetic structure before the Pleistocene, indicating that Pleistocene glaciations did not have a major role in splitting the major lineages. At a shallow level, the glacial dynamics contributed unevenly to the genetic structuring of populations, with a strong influence in the European-Caucasian populations, and a more relaxed effect in the Iberian populations.