Plio-Pleistocene diversification and biogeographic barriers in southern Australia reflected in the phylogeography of a widespread and common lizard species

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Ansari, Mina Hojat
Cooper, Steven J B
Schwarz, Michael Philip
Ebrahimi, Mehregan
Dolman, Gaynor
Reinberger, Leigh
Saint, Kathleen M
Donnellan, Steve C
Bull, Christopher Michael
Gardner, Michael George
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc.
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Elsevier Inc.
Palaeoclimatic events and biogeographical processes since the mid-Tertiary have played an important role in shaping the evolution and distribution of Australian fauna. However, their impacts on fauna in southern and arid zone regions of Australia are not well understood. Here we investigate the phylogeography of an Australian scincid lizard, Tiliqua rugosa, across southern Australia using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and 11 nuclear DNA markers (nuDNA), including nine anonymous nuclear loci. Phylogenetic analyses revealed three major mtDNA lineages within T. rugosa, geographically localised north and south of the Murray River in southern Australia, and west of the Nullarbor Plain. Molecular variance and population analyses of both mtDNA and nuDNA haplotypes revealed significant variation among the three populations, although potential introgression of nuDNA markers was also detected for the Northern and Southern population. Coalescent times for major mtDNA lineages coincide with an aridification phase, which commenced after the early Pliocene and increased in intensity during the Late Pliocene-Pleistocene. Species distribution modelling and a phylogeographic diffusion model suggest that the range of T. rugosa may have contracted during the Last Glacial Maximum and the locations of optimal habitat appear to coincide with the geographic origin of several distinct mtDNA lineages. Overall, our analyses suggest that Plio-Pleistocene climatic changes and biogeographic barriers associated with the Nullarbor Plain and Murray River have played a key role in shaping the present-day distribution of genetic diversity in T. rugosa and many additional ground-dwelling animals distributed across southern Australia.
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: This author accepted manuscript is made available following 12 month embargo from date of publication (December 2018) in accordance with the publisher’s archiving policy
Mitochondrial DNA, Nuclear DNA, Anonymous nuclear loci,, Next generation sequencing, Plio-Pleistocene, Phylogeography, Tiliqua rugosa, Scincid lizard, Nullarbor, Murray River
Ansari, M. H., Cooper, S. J. B., Schwarz, M. P., Ebrahimi, M., Dolman, G., Reinberger, L., … Gardner, M. G. (2019). Plio- Pleistocene diversification and biogeographic barriers in southern Australia reflected in the phylogeography of a widespread and common lizard species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 133, 107–119. https://