Background: Mediterranean temporary water bodies are important reservoirs of biodiversity and host a unique assemblage of diapausing aquatic invertebrates. These environments are currently vanishing because of increasing human pressure.Chirocephalus kerkyrensis is a fairy shrimp typical of temporary water bodies in Mediterranean plain forests and hasundergone a substantial decline in number of populations in recent years due to habitat loss. We assessed patterns of genetic connectivity and phylogeographic history in the seven extant populations of the species from Albania, Corfu Is. (Greece), Southern and Central Italy.Methodology/Principal Findings: We analyzed sequence variation at two mitochondrial DNA genes (Cytochrome Oxidase I and 16s rRNA) in all the known populations of C. kerkyrensis. We used multiple phylogenetic, phylogeographic and coalescence-based approaches to assess connectivity and historical demography across the whole distribution range of the species. C. kerkyrensis is genetically subdivided into three main mitochondrial lineages; two of them are geographically localized (Corfu Is. and Central Italy) and one encompasses a wide geographic area (Albania and Southern Italy). Most of the detected genetic variation (<81%) is apportioned among the aforementioned lineages.Conclusions/Significance: Multiple analyses of mismatch distributions consistently supported both past demographic and spatial expansions with the former predating the latter; demographic expansions were consistently placed during interglacial warm phases of the Pleistocene while spatial expansions were restricted to cold periods. Coalescence methods revealed a scenario of past isolation with low levels of gene flow in line with what is already known for other co-distributed fairy shrimps and suggest drift as the prevailing force in promoting local divergence. We recommend that these evolutionary trajectories should be taken in proper consideration in any effort aimed at protecting Mediterranean temporary water bodies.
|Numero di pagine||11|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2012|
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