Diversification within an oceanic Mediterranean island: Insights from a terrestrial isopod
AuthorDimitriou, Andreas C.
SourceMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
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Understanding intra-island patterns of evolutionary divergence, including cases of cryptic diversity, is a crucial step towards deciphering speciation processes. Cyprus is an oceanic island isolated for at least 5.3 Mya from surrounding continental regions, while it remains unclear whether it was ever connected to the mainland, even during the Messinian Salinity Crisis. The terrestrial isopod species Armadillo officinalis, that is widespread across the Mediterranean, offers the opportunity to explore intra-island divergence patterns that might exhibit geographical structure related also to the region’s known paleogeography. Genome-wide ddRADseq, as well as Sanger sequencing for four mitochondrial and three nuclear loci data were generated for this purpose. In total, 71 populations from Cyprus, neighbouring continental sites, i.e., Israel, Lebanon and Turkey, and other Mediterranean regions, i.e. Greece, Italy, and Tunisia, were included in the analysis. Phylogenetic reconstructions and population structure analyses support the existence of at least six genetically discrete groups across the study area. Five of these distinct genetic clades occur on Cyprus, four of which are endemic to the island and one is widely distributed along the circum-Mediterranean countries. The sixth clade is distributed in Israel. The closest evolutionary relationship of endemic Cypriot populations is with those from Israel, while the evolutionary clade that is present in countries all around the Mediterranean is very shallow. Cladochronological analyses date the origin of the species on the island at ∼6 Mya. Estimated f4 and D statistics as well as FST values indicate the genetic isolation between the populations sampled from Cyprus and surrounding continental areas, while there is evident gene flow among populations within the island. Species delimitation and population genetic metrics support the existence of three distinct taxonomic units across the study area, two of which occur on the island and correspond to the endemic clade and the widespread circum-Mediterranean one, respectively, while the third corresponds to Israel’s clade. The islands’ paleogeographic history and recent human activities seem to have shaped current patterns of genetic diversity in this group of species.