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A phylogeographical analysis across three biogeographical provinces of the south-eastern Pacific: the case of the marine gastropod Concholepas concholepas

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Abstract Aim 

The present-day population structure of a species reflects the influence of population history as well as contemporary processes. Little is known about the mechanisms that have shaped the geographical distribution of genetic diversity in marine species present on the south-eastern Pacific (SEP) coast. Here we provide the first comprehensive phylogeographical study of a species distributed along the SEP coast by analysing the endemic and emblematic muricid gastropod Concholepas concholepas. Location 

The study localities were distributed along the SEP coast ranging from Matarani (11° S) to Puerto Eden (49° S), crossing three major biogeographical provinces: Peruvian Province, Intermediate Area and Magellanic Province. Methods 

A total of 337 specimens of C. concholepas were collected from 14 localities in the three biogeographical provinces/areas. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene partial sequences (658 bp) were obtained and analysed using coalescence-based methods to infer molecular diversity and phylogeographical patterns. Results 

Across the 337 individuals, we found a large diversity, with a total of 179 haplotypes at the COI gene fragment. Although a slight decrease in gene diversity was observed from north to south, an analysis of molecular variance did not reveal any significant spatial population differentiation from Peru to the tip of Chile, not even across the recognized biogeographical boundaries at 30° S and 42° S. In addition, a star-like haplotype network suggested the past occurrence of a rapid demographic and geographical expansion over the total range examined. Calculations of the onset of this expansion suggest that it might be due to climatic conditions during the period of the marine isotope stage 11 (MIS 11, 400,000 years ago), the longer and warmer interglacial episode during the Pleistocene epoch. Main conclusions 

Our phylogeographical analyses indicate that in the recent past C. concholepas mitochondrial DNA lineages underwent a sudden population expansion event. In addition, our data do not support the hypothesis of concordance between biogeographical barriers and phylogeographical breaks along the SEP coast. These two results are in accordance with the paradigm of high larval dispersal ability in marine species with an extended pelagic larval phase.
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Keywords: Biogeography; Concholepas concholepas; cytochrome oxidase I; phylogeography; range distribution; south-eastern Pacific Ocean

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Biodiversity (CASEB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Publication date: 2009-05-01

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