Differing impact of a major biogeographic barrier on genetic structure in two large kangaroos from the monsoon tropics of Northern Australia

Eldridge, Mark D.B., Potter, Sally, Johnson, Christopher N., and Ritchie, Euan G. (2014) Differing impact of a major biogeographic barrier on genetic structure in two large kangaroos from the monsoon tropics of Northern Australia. Ecology and Evolution, 4 (5). pp. 554-567.

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Abstract

Tropical savannas cover 20–30% of the world's land surface and exhibit high levels of regional endemism, but the evolutionary histories of their biota remain poorly studied. The most extensive and unmodified tropical savannas occur in Northern Australia, and recent studies suggest this region supports high levels of previously undetected genetic diversity. To examine the importance of barriers to gene flow and the environmental history of Northern Australia in influencing patterns of diversity, we investigated the phylogeography of two closely related, large, vagile macropodid marsupials, the antilopine wallaroo (Macropus antilopinus; n = 78), and the common wallaroo (Macropus robustus; n = 21). Both species are widespread across the tropical savannas of Australia except across the Carpentarian Barrier (CB) where there is a break in the distribution of M. antilopinus. We determined sequence variation in the hypervariable Domain I of the mitochondrial DNA control region and genotyped individuals at 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci to assess the historical and contemporary influence of the CB on these species. Surprisingly, we detected only limited differentiation between the disjunct Northern Territory and Queensland M. antilopinus populations. In contrast, the continuously distributed M. robustus was highly divergent across the CB. Although unexpected, these contrasting responses appear related to minor differences in species biology. Our results suggest that vicariance may not explain well the phylogeographic patterns in Australia's dynamic monsoonal environments. This is because Quaternary environmental changes in this region have been complex, and diverse individual species' biologies have resulted in less predictable and idiosyncratic responses.

Item ID: 33019
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: Macropus antilopinus, Macropus robustus, microsatellites, mitochondrial DNA, Northern Australia, phylogeography, tropical savanna, wallaroo
Additional Information:

© 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre, WV Scott Foundation (Australia), Australian Museum
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 09:26
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960811 Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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