The changing pace of insular life: 5000 years of microevolution in the Orkney vole (Microtus arvalis orcadensis)

Cucchi, Thomas; Barnett, Ross; Martínková, Natália; Renaud, Sabrina; Renvoisé, Elodie; Evin, Allowen; Sheridan, Alison; Mainland, Ingrid; Wickham-Jones, Caroline; Tougard, Christelle; Quéré, Jean-Pierre; Pascal, Michel; Pascal, Marine; Heckel, Gerald; O'Higgins, Paul; Searle, Jeremy B.; Dobney, Keith M. (2014). The changing pace of insular life: 5000 years of microevolution in the Orkney vole (Microtus arvalis orcadensis). Evolution, 68(10), pp. 2804-2820. Wiley 10.1111/evo.12476

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Island evolution may be expected to involve fast initial morphological divergence followed by stasis. We tested this model using the dental phenotype of modern and ancient common voles (Microtus arvalis), introduced onto the Orkney archipelago (Scotland) from continental Europe some 5000 years ago. First, we investigated phenotypic divergence of Orkney and continental European populations and assessed climatic influences. Second, phenotypic differentiation among Orkney populations was tested against geography, time, and neutral genetic patterns. Finally, we examined evolutionary change along a time series for the Orkney Mainland. Molar gigantism and anterior-lobe hypertrophy evolved rapidly in Orkney voles following introduction, without any transitional forms detected. Founder events and adaptation appear to explain this initial rapid evolution. Idiosyncrasy in dental features among different island populations of Orkney voles is also likely the result of local founder events following Neolithic translocation around the archipelago. However, against our initial expectations, a second marked phenotypic shift occurred between the 4th and 12th centuries AD, associated with increased pastoral farming and introduction of competitors (mice and rats) and terrestrial predators (foxes and cats). These results indicate that human agency can generate a more complex pattern of morphological evolution than might be expected in island rodents.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Heckel, Gerald

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

0014-3820

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Isabelle Duperret

Date Deposited:

04 Sep 2015 13:46

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2015 13:46

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/evo.12476

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.71384

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71384

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