Population genetic structure of the bank vole Myodes glareolus within its glacial refugium in peninsular Italy

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Andrea ChiocchioDaniele Canestrelli


It is now well established that Southern European peninsulas have been major glacial refugia for temperate species during Pleistocene climatic oscillations. However, substantial environmental changes occurred also within these peninsulas throughout the Pleistocene, rising questions about the role and interplay of various of micro-evolutionary processes in shaping patterns of intraspecific diversity within these areas. Here, we investigate the patterns of genetic variation in the bank vole Myodes glareolus within the Italian peninsula. By using a panel of 13 microsatellite loci, we found more intra-specific variation than expected based on previous assessments. Indeed, both Bayesian and ordination-based clustering analyses of variation recovered five main geographic/genetic clusters along the peninsula, with three clusters geographically restricted to the southern portion of the study area. This pattern supports the occurrence of multiple sub-refugia for the bank vole in peninsular Italy, likely promoted by the major paleo-environmental changes which affected forested habitats within this area during the Pleistocene. Thus, our results support a scenario whereby the high levels of intraspecific diversity observed within major gla...Continue Reading

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