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Antananarivo, Madagascar

Block N.L.,Stonehill College | Goodman S.M.,Field Museum of Natural History | Hackett S.J.,Field Museum of Natural History | Bates J.M.,Field Museum of Natural History | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution

The merger of formerly isolated lineages is hypothesized to occur in vertebrates under certain conditions. However, despite many demonstrated instances of introgression between taxa in secondary contact, examples of lineage mergers are rare. Preliminary mtDNA sequencing of a Malagasy passerine, Xanthomixis zosterops (Passeriformes: Bernieridae), indicated a possible instance of merging lineages. We tested the hypothesis that X. zosterops lineages are merging by comparing mtDNA sequence and microsatellite data, as well as mtDNA sequence data from host-specific feather lice in the genus Myrsidea (Phthiraptera: Menoponidae). Xanthomixis zosterops comprises four deeply divergent, broadly sympatric, cryptic mtDNA clades that likely began diverging approximately 3.6 million years ago. Despite this level of divergence, the microsatellite data indicate that the X. zosterops mtDNA clades are virtually panmictic. Three major phylogroups of Myrsidea were found, supporting previous allopatry of the X. zosterops clades. In combination, the datasets from X. zosterops and its Myrsidea document a potential merger of previously allopatric lineages that likely date to the Pliocene. This represents the first report of sympatric apparent hybridization among more than two terrestrial vertebrate lineages. Further, the mtDNA phylogeographic pattern of X. zosterops, namely the syntopy of more than two deeply divergent cryptic clades, appears to be a novel scenario among vertebrates. We highlight the value of gathering multiple types of data in phylogeographic studies to contribute to the study of vertebrate speciation. Xanthomixis zosterops comprises four deeply divergent, broadly sympatric, cryptic mtDNA clades that likely began diverging approximately 3.6 million years ago. Despite this level of divergence, microsatellite data indicate that the X. zosterops mtDNA clades are virtually panmictic. The presence of three distinct phylogroups of host-specific Myrsidea lice on X. zosterops support previous allopatry and potential lineage merger of the X. zosterops clades. © 2015 Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Jenkins R.K.B.,Global Species Programme | Tognelli M.F.,IUCN CI Biodiversity Assessment Unit | Bowles P.,IUCN CI Biodiversity Assessment Unit | Cox N.,IUCN CI Biodiversity Assessment Unit | And 38 more authors.

Background: An understanding of the conservation status of Madagascar's endemic reptile species is needed to underpin conservation planning and priority setting in this global biodiversity hotspot, and to complement existing information on the island's mammals, birds and amphibians. We report here on the first systematic assessment of the extinction risk of endemic and native non-marine Malagasy snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises. Methodology/ Principal Findings: Species range maps from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species were analysed to determine patterns in the distribution of threatened reptile species. These data, in addition to information on threats, were used to identify priority areas and actions for conservation. Thirty-nine percent of the data-sufficient Malagasy reptiles in our analyses are threatened with extinction. Areas in the north, west and south-east were identified as having more threatened species than expected and are therefore conservation priorities. Habitat degradation caused by wood harvesting and non-timber crops was the most pervasive threat. The direct removal of reptiles for international trade and human consumption threatened relatively few species, but were the primary threats for tortoises. Nine threatened reptile species are endemic to recently created protected areas. Conclusions/Significance: With a few alarming exceptions, the threatened endemic reptiles of Madagascar occur within the national network of protected areas, including some taxa that are only found in new protected areas. Threats to these species, however, operate inside and outside protected area boundaries. This analysis has identified priority sites for reptile conservation and completes the conservation assessment of terrestrial vertebrates in Madagascar which will facilitate conservation planning, monitoring and wise-decision making. In sharp contrast with the amphibians, there is significant reptile diversity and regional endemism in the southern and western regions of Madagascar and this study highlights the importance of these arid regions to conserving the island's biodiversity. © 2014 Jenkins et al. Source

Shi J.J.,Duke University | Shi J.J.,University of Michigan | Chan L.M.,Duke University | Chan L.M.,Pitzer and Scripps Colleges | And 4 more authors.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Numerous hypotheses have been proposed for the historical processes governing the rich endemism of Madagascar's biodiversity. The 'watershed model' suggests that drier climates in the recent geological past have resulted in the contraction of forests around major watersheds, thereby defining areas of endemism. We test whether this hypothesis explains phylogeographical patterns in a dry forest-dependent rodent, Eliurus myoxinus, an endemic species widely distributed through western Madagascar. We sequenced the mitochondrial cytochrome b locus and nuclear introns of the β-fibrinogen and the growth hormone receptor genes for E. myoxinus. Using a parametric bootstrapping approach, we tested whether the mitochondrial gene tree data fit expectations of local differentiation given the watershed model. We additionally estimated population differentiation and historical demographic parameters, and reconstructed the spatial history of E. myoxinus to highlight spatial and temporal patterns of differentiation. The data do not support the watershed model as a clear explanation for the genetic patterns of diversity within extant E. myoxinus populations. We find striking patterns of latitudinal genetic structure within western Madagascar, and indicate possible roles for environmental and ecological gradients along this axis in generating phylogeographical diversity. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London. Source

Fuchs J.,University of California at Berkeley | Fuchs J.,University of Cape Town | Parra J.L.,University of Antioquia | Goodman S.M.,Field Museum of Natural History | And 4 more authors.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

We conduct a phylogeographic study of the Crested Drongo (Dicrurus forficatus forficatus), a broadly distributed bird species on Madagascar. We first determined the demographic and spatial pattern inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear data, and then compared these results with predictions from a present to 0.120-Myr-old reconstruction of the spatial dynamics of the range of D.f.forficatus on Madagascar, enabling putative areas of stability (lineage persistence) to be detected. Weak genetic structure along an east-west pattern and comparatively low genetic diversity were recovered, with strong evidence of population expansion found at all ten loci sampled. The palaeoclimatic distribution models over the past 0.120Myr suggest the presence of extensive areas of suitable climate in the east and west for the species since its colonization of Madagascar, a result in strong concordance with the spatial and genetic signal derived from our multilocus data set. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London. Source

Rakotoarisoa J.-E.,Illinois State University | Rakotoarisoa J.-E.,Yale University | Raheriarisena M.,University of Antananarivo | Goodman S.M.,Association Vahatra
Journal of Evolutionary Biology

The Loky-Manambato region, located in northern Madagascar, is a biotically rich contact zone between different forest biomes. Local current forest cover is composed of both humid and dry formations, which show elevational stratification. A recent phylogeographical study of a regional dry forest rodent, Eliurus carletoni (subfamily Nesomyinae), found genetic evidence of forest contractions between 18 750 and 7500 years BP, which based on extrapolation of the pollen subfossil record, was thought to be associated with an expansion of local humid forests. Herein, we conduct a genetic test of this hypothesis and focused on populations on two neighbouring massifs of forest-dependent rodent species, one associated with low-elevation dry forests (E. carletoni) and the other with higher elevation humid forests (Eliurus tanala). Using mitochondrial markers and a combination of traditional and coalescent-based phylogeographical, historical demographic and population genetic methods, we found evidence of historical connections between populations of E. tanala. Adjacent populations of E. carletoni and E. tanala exhibit opposite historical demographic patterns, and for both, evidence suggests that historical demographic events occurred within the last 25 000 years BP. These findings strongly support the proposed late Quaternary shifts in the floristic composition of the Loky-Manambato region. © 2013 The Authors. © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Source

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