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Comparative phylogeography of five sympatric Hypseleotris species (Teleostei: Eleotridae) in south-eastern Australia reveals a complex pattern of drainage basin exchanges with little congruence across species

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Abstract Aim 

To determine biogeographical patterns in five closely related species in the fish genus Hypseleotris, and to investigate the relative roles of drainage divide crossings and movement during lowered sea levels between drainage basins and biogeographical provinces based on the phylogeographical patterns within the group. The high degree of overlap in the distributions and ecology of these species makes them ideal candidates for comparative phylogeographical study. Location 

Eastern, central and south-eastern Australia. Methods 

A total of 179 Hypseleotris individuals were sequenced from 45 localities for the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and the first 30 base pairs of the threonine transfer RNA for a total of 1170 bp. Phylogenetic relationships were hypothesized using parsimony and Bayesian analyses. Results 

Phylogenetic analysis resolves the five species into three clades. The first corresponds to the species Hypseleotris klunzingeri ( Ogilby, 1898); within it two clades are resolved, one consisting of individuals from the Eastern Province (EP), plus two eastern Murray-Darling Province (MDP) localities, and the other including the remainder of the MDP localities, along with the Lake Eyre Basin (Central Australian Province, CAP) individuals. The other two clades include a mixed Hypseleotris galii ( Ogilby, 1898)/Hypseleotris sp. 3 Murray-Darling clade, with EP and MDP lineages mostly segregated and differentiations in populations spread along the EP, and a mixed Hypseleotris sp. 4 Lake's and Hypseleotris sp. 5 Midgley's clade, with two groups of MDP localities and two CAP lineages indicated, interspersed with EP lineages as well as those from the Northern Province. Main conclusions 

This study is broadly congruent with a previous analysis of Hypseleotris phylogeny, but the previously observed overall relationship of south-eastern Australian provinces [EP(MDP+CAP)] was not confirmed and is more complicated than hitherto thought. This highlights the necessity of obtaining a sufficient number of sampling localities to identify potential connectivity between populations in order to demonstrate congruent biogeographical patterns. We identified many instances of drainage divide crossings, which were the major means of movement between provinces. Despite the commonness of movement across drainage divides, very few of these were found to be exactly congruent among the species. Most occurred in different places, or if in the same location, apparently at different times, or in at least one case, in opposite directions. Patterns of movement between adjacent coastal drainages were also found to be largely incongruent; when congruence was found the populations involved had quite different genetic divergences.

Keywords: Australia; Eleotridae; Gobioidei; comparative phylogeography; drainage divides; freshwater biogeography; sea-level change; sympatric species

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405, USA 2: Department of Biology, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 107A, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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