Porous barriers? Assessment of gene flow within and among sympatric long‐eared bat species

Andriollo, Tommy; Ashrafi, Sohrab; Arlettaz, Raphaël; Ruedi, Manuel (2018). Porous barriers? Assessment of gene flow within and among sympatric long‐eared bat species. Ecology and evolution, 8(24), pp. 12841-12854. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 10.1002/ece3.4714

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Species are the basic units for measuring biodiversity and for comprehending biologi‐cal interactions. Yet, their delineation is often contentious, especially in groups that are both diverse and phenotypically conservative. Three cryptic species of long‐eared bats, Plecotus auritus, P. austriacus, and P. macrobullaris, co‐occur over extensive areas of Western Europe. The latter is a fairly recent discovery, questioning the overall di‐versity of the entire Plecotus complex. Yet, high morphological and acoustic similarities compromise the reliable identification of long‐eared bats in the field. We postulate that such extensive phenotypic overlap, along with the recurrent observation of mor‐phologically intermediate individuals, may hide rampant interspecific hybridization. Based on a geographic sampling centered on areas of sympatry in the Alps and Corsica, we assessed the level of reproductive isolation of these three Plecotus species with mitochondrial and nuclear markers, looking at both inter‐ and intraspecific genetic population structuring. No sign of hybridization was detected between these three species that appear well separated biologically. Genetic structuring of populations, however, reflected different species‐specific responses to environmental connectiv‐ity, that is, to the presence of orographic or sea barriers. While the Alpine range and the Ligurian Sea coincided with sharp genetic discontinuities in P. macrobullaris and P. austriacus, the more ubiquitous P. auritus showed no significant population struc‐turation. There were clear phylogeographic discrepancies between microsatellite and mitochondrial markers at the intraspecific level, however, which challenges the reli‐ance on simple barcoding approaches for the delineation of sound conservation units.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Arlettaz, Raphaël

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

2045-7758

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

29 May 2019 12:21

Last Modified:

29 May 2019 12:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/ece3.4714

PubMed ID:

30619587

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.126668

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/126668

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