The geological history of the Ponto-Caspian region, with alternating cycles of isolation and reconnection among the three main basins (Black and Azov Seas, and the more distant Caspian Sea) as well as between them and the Mediterranean Sea, profoundly affected the diversification of its aquatic fauna, leading to a high degree of endemism. Two alternative hypotheses on the origin of this amazing biodiversity have been proposed, corresponding to phases of allopatric separation of aquatic fauna among sea basins: a Late Miocene origin (10-6. MYA) vs. a more recent Pleistocene ancestry (<2. MYA). Both hypotheses support a vicariant origin of (1) Black. +. Azov Sea lineages on the one hand, and (2) Caspian Sea lineages on the other. Here, we present a study on the Ponto-Caspian endemic amphipod Pontogammarus maeoticus. We assessed patterns of divergence based on (a) two mitochondrial and one nuclear gene, and (b) a morphometric analysis of 23 morphological traits in 16 populations from South and West Caspian Sea, South Azov Sea and North-West Black Sea. Genetic data indicate a long and independent evolutionary history, dating back from the late Miocene to early Pleistocene (6.6-1.6. MYA), for an unexpected, major split between (i) a Black Sea clade and (ii) a well-supported clade grouping individuals from the Caspian and Azov Seas. Absence of shared haplotypes argues against either recent or human-mediated exchanges between Caspian and Azov Seas. A mismatch distribution analysis supports more stable population demography in the Caspian than in the Black Sea populations. Morphological divergence largely followed patterns of genetic divergence: our analyses grouped samples according to the basin of origin and corroborated the close phylogenetic affinity between Caspian and Azov Sea lineages. Altogether, our results highlight the necessity of careful (group-specific) evaluation of evolutionary trajectories in marine taxa that should certainly not be inferred from the current geographical proximity of sea basins alone. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
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|Titolo:||Diversification of Ponto-Caspian aquatic fauna: Morphology and molecules retrieve congruent evolutionary relationships in pontogammarus maeoticus (Amphipoda: Pontogammaridae)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||01a Articolo in rivista|