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PloS one

Phylogeography in Galaxias maculatus (Jenyns, 1848) along Two Biogeographical Provinces in the Chilean Coast.


PMID 26161896

Abstract

Major geologic and climatic changes during the Quaternary exerted a major role in shaping past and contemporary distribution of genetic diversity and structure of aquatic organisms in southern South America. In fact, the northern glacial limit along the Pacific coast, an area of major environmental changes in terms of topography, currents, and water salinity, represents a major biogeographic transition for marine and freshwater species. We used mitochondrial DNA sequences (D-loop) to investigate the consequences of Quaternary glacial cycles over the pattern of genetic diversity and structure of G. maculatus (Pisces: Galaxiidae) along two biogeographical provinces in the Chilean coast. Extreme levels of genetic diversity and strong phylogeographic structure characterize the species suggesting a low amount of influence of the last glacial cycle over its demography. However, we recognized contrasting patterns of genetic diversity and structure between main biogeographical areas here analyzed. Along the Intermediate Area (38°-41° S) each estuarine population constitutes a different unit. In contrast, Magellanic populations (43°-53° S) exhibited low levels of genetic differentiation. Contrasting patterns of genetic diversity and structure recorded in the species between the analyzed biogeographic areas are consistent with the marked differences in abiotic factors (i.e., different coastal configurations, Quaternary glacial histories, and oceanographic regimes) and to inherent characteristics of the species (i.e., salt-tolerance, physiology, and reproductive behavior).