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See detailWhen morphometrics meets genetics: the case of the hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius
Mouton, Alice ULg; Renaud, Sabrina; Michaux, Johan ULg

Conference (2014, September 19)

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See detailDiet analysis of Leopoldamys neilli, a cave-dwelling rodent in Southeast Asia, using Next-Generation Sequencing from feces
Latinne, Alice ULg; Galan, Maxime; Waengsothorn, Surachit et al

in Journal of Cave and Karst Studies (2014), 76(2), 139-145

Leopoldamys neilli is a Murinae rodent endemic to limestone karst of Thailand and the Lao PDR, but its ecology and the reasons of its endemism to karst are still totally unknown. The aim of this pilot ... [more ▼]

Leopoldamys neilli is a Murinae rodent endemic to limestone karst of Thailand and the Lao PDR, but its ecology and the reasons of its endemism to karst are still totally unknown. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the plant composition of the diet of L. neilli at the level of order and family using DNA for molecular identification and to compare it with two other forest-dwelling Leopoldamys species, L. herberti and L. sabanus. A 202bp fragment of the rbcL gene was amplified and sequenced for twenty-three fecal samples of the three species using 454 pyrosequencing. We successfully identified a total of seventeen orders and twenty-one plant families, corresponding to thirty-three putative species, in the feces of these three Leopoldamys species. Solanaceae were the most common plants in the diet of L.neilli regardless of the region and sampling season, and they were also present in feces of both L. herberti and L. sabanus. The Araceae, Fabaceae, and Apocynaceae families were also identified in feces of L. neilli collected in various regions of Thailand and at different seasons. Plants of the Oleaceae family are consumed by both L. herberti and L. sabanus but were not found in the diet of L. neilli. Further improvements of the study, such as the use of additional genes, the creation of a reference collection, the microhistological examination of plant fragments to determine which parts of the plant are consumed, and the analysis of the animal diet of Leopoldamys are suggested to enhance the quality and accuracy of the results obtained. [less ▲]

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See detailPostglacial climate changes and rise of three ecotypes of harbor porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, in western Palearctic waters
Fontaine, Michaël; Roland, K.; Calves, I. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2014)

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See detailIs Leopoldamys neilli (Rodentia, Muridae) a synonym of Leopoldamys herberti? A reply to Balakirev et al. (2013)
Latinne, Alice ULg; Chaval, Yannick; Waengsothorn, Surachit et al

in Zootaxa (2013), 3731(4), 589-598

Recently, Balakirev et al. (2013) presented a taxonomic revision of the genus Leopoldamys based on phylogenetic analyses. They identified five main Leopoldamys genetic lineages and suggested to rename ... [more ▼]

Recently, Balakirev et al. (2013) presented a taxonomic revision of the genus Leopoldamys based on phylogenetic analyses. They identified five main Leopoldamys genetic lineages and suggested to rename several of them. According to these authors, the genetic lineage previously thought to belong to L. edwardsi (lineage L1) should be assigned to L. revertens while L. neilli (lineage L2) should be considered as a junior synonym of L. herberti. Using molecular and morphological data from a large sampling of Leopoldamys specimens, the aim of the present study was to investigate the taxonomic status of L. herberti and L. neilli. This study reveals that, contrary to Balakirev et al.’s statement, both genetic lineages L1 and L2 occur in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, close to the type locality of L. herberti. We also show that the external measurements and color pattern of L. herberti are highly similar to those of L1 specimens but are not consistent with the morphology of L2 specimens. Therefore these results strongly suggest that L. herberti should be assigned to the genetic lineage L1. Consequently L. neilli should not be considered as a junior synonym of L. herberti and this study confirms that the appropriate name of the genetic lineage L2 is L. neilli. Moreover, as our results show that L. herberti should be assigned to the lineage L1, this name has nomenclatural priority over L. revertens, the species name suggested by Balakirev et al. (2013) for this lineage. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity and endemism of Murinae rodents in Thai limestone karsts
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Rojanadilok, Prateep et al

in Systematics and Biodiversity (2013), 11(3), 323-344

This study aims to investigate the species diversity of rodents living in karst ecosystems of Thailand. A survey has been conducted throughout Thailand, 122 karsts sampled and 477 Murinae rodents live ... [more ▼]

This study aims to investigate the species diversity of rodents living in karst ecosystems of Thailand. A survey has been conducted throughout Thailand, 122 karsts sampled and 477 Murinae rodents live-trapped. Phylogenetic reconstructions were carried out using two mitochondrial markers (cytb, COI). A sequence-based species delimitation method completed by the analysis of the level of genetic divergence was then applied to define species boundaries within our dataset. The phylogenetic position of Niviventer hinpoon was also investigated and sequences obtained from the holotype specimen of this species were used to reliably identify samples of N. hinpoon. A total of 12 described Murinae species, corresponding to 17 deeply divergent genetic lineages, were encountered in limestone karsts of Thailand. Our study revealed an important genetic diversity within the traditionally recognized species Maxomys surifer (four highly divergent genetic lineages), Leopoldamys neilli (two highly divergent genetic lineages) and Berylmys bowersi (two highly divergent genetic lineages). These species could be considered as species complex and require further taxonomic work. This study also provides valuable information on the distribution of the two rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, L. neilli and N. hinpoon. Leopoldamys neilli was the most abundant species encountered in Thai karsts during our survey. However, L. neilli specimens from western Thailand are genetically highly divergent from the remaining populations of L. neilli and could represent a separate species. Niviventer hinpoon, phylogenetically closely related to N. fulvescens, is much rarer and its distribution limited to central Thailand. Most of the other captured species are typically associated with forest ecosystems. This study suggests that limestone karsts play a key role in the preservation of the rodent species endemic to such habitat, but they would also provide refuges for the forest-dwelling Murinae rodents in deforested regions. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolutionary history of Leopoldamys neilli, a karst endemic rodent in Southeast Asia, and implications for its conservation
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Michaux, Johan ULg

Conference (2013, August 15)

In this study, we have investigated the phylogeography of Leopoldamys neilli, a Murinae rodent species endemic to limestone karsts in Southeast Asia, on the basis of mitochondrial and nuclear markers ... [more ▼]

In this study, we have investigated the phylogeography of Leopoldamys neilli, a Murinae rodent species endemic to limestone karsts in Southeast Asia, on the basis of mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Both mitochondrial and nuclear markers support a large-scale population structure of four main groups within L. neilli and a strong finer structure within each of these groups. A deep genealogical divergence among geographically close lineages is observed and denotes a high population fragmentation. Our findings suggest that the current phylogeographic pattern of this species results from the fragmentation of a widespread ancestral population and that vicariance has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of L. neilli during Plio-Pleistocene. This study revealed an unexpected high level of intraspecific diversity within L. neilli. Consequently, the four main L. neilli population groups should be considered as four distinct Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) and require appropriate management and conservation plans. [less ▲]

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See detailMolecular phylogeny and systematics of Dipodoidea: a test of morphology-based hypotheses
Lebedev, Vladimir; Bannikova, Anna; Pagès, Marie ULg et al

in Zoologica Scripta (2013), (3),

The superfamily Dipodoidea (Rodentia, Myomorpha) in its current interpretation contains a single family subdivided into six subfamilies. Four of them include morphologically specialized bipedal arid ... [more ▼]

The superfamily Dipodoidea (Rodentia, Myomorpha) in its current interpretation contains a single family subdivided into six subfamilies. Four of them include morphologically specialized bipedal arid-dwelling jerboas (Dipodinae – three-toed jerboas, Allactaginae – fivetoed jerboas, Cardiocraniinae – pygmy jerboas and Euchoreutinae – long-eared jerboas), the other two are represented by more generalized quadrupedal taxa (Zapodinae – jumping mice and Sminthinae – birch mice). Despite considerable effort from morphologists, the taxonomy as well as the phylogeny of the Dipodoidea remains controversial. Strikingly, molecular approach has never been envisaged to investigate these questions. In this study, the phylogenetic relationships among the main dipodoid lineages were reconstructed for the first time using DNA sequence data from four nuclear genes (IRBP, GHR, BRCA1, RAG1). No evidence of conflict among genes was revealed. The same robustly supported tree topology was inferred from the concatenated alignment whatever the phylogenetic methods used (maximum parsimony, maximum-likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic methods). Sminthinae branches basally within the dipodoids followed by Zapodinae. Monophyletic Cardiocraniinae is sister to all other jerboas. Within the latter, the monophyly of both Dipodinae and Allactaginae is highly supported. The relationships between Dipodinae, Allactaginae and Euchoreutinae should be regarded as unresolved trichotomy. Morphological hypotheses were confronted to findings based on the presented molecular data. As a result, previously proposed sister group relationships between Euchoreutes and Sicista, Paradipus and Cardiocraniinae as well as the monophyly of Cardiocaniinae + Dipodinae were rejected. However, the latter association is consistently supported by most morphological analyses. The basis of the obvious conflict between genes and morphology remains unclear. Suggested modifications to the taxonomy of Dipodoidea imply recognition of three families: Sminthidae, Zapodidae and Dipodidae, the latter including Cardiocraniinae, Euchoreutinae, Allactaginae and Dipodinae as subfamilies. [less ▲]

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See detailToward a Noninvasive Inuit Polar Bear Survey: Genetic Data from Polar Bear Hair Snags
Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter; Wong, Pamela; Harris, Christopher et al

in Wildlife Society Bulletin (2013)

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See detailCombined Mitochondrial and Nuclear Markers Revealed a Deep Vicariant History for Leopoldamys neilli, a Cave-Dwelling Rodent of Thailand
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Rojanadilok, Prateep et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(10), 47670

Background: Historical biogeography and evolutionary processes of cave taxa have been widely studied in temperate regions. However, Southeast Asian cave ecosystems remain largely unexplored despite their ... [more ▼]

Background: Historical biogeography and evolutionary processes of cave taxa have been widely studied in temperate regions. However, Southeast Asian cave ecosystems remain largely unexplored despite their high scientific interest. Here we studied the phylogeography of Leopoldamys neilli, a cave-dwelling murine rodent living in limestone karsts of Thailand, and compared the molecular signature of mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Methodology/Principal Findings: We used a large sampling (n = 225) from 28 localities in Thailand and a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear markers with various evolutionary rates (two intronic regions and 12 microsatellites). The evolutionary history of L. neilli and the relative role of vicariance and dispersal were investigated using ancestral range reconstruction analysis and Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC). Both mitochondrial and nuclear markers support a large-scale population structure of four main groups (west, centre, north and northeast) and a strong finer structure within each of these groups. A deep genealogical divergence among geographically close lineages is observed and denotes a high population fragmentation. Our findings suggest that the current phylogeographic pattern of this species results from the fragmentation of a widespread ancestral population and that vicariance has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of L. neilli. These deep vicariant events that occurred during Plio-Pleistocene are related to the formation of the Central Plain of Thailand. Consequently, the western, central, northern and northeastern groups of populations were historically isolated and should be considered as four distinct Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs). Conclusions/Significance: Our study confirms the benefit of using several independent genetic markers to obtain a comprehensive and reliable picture of L. neilli evolutionary history at different levels of resolution. The complex genetic structure of Leopoldamys neilli is supported by congruent mitochondrial and nuclear markers and has been influenced by the geological history of Thailand during Plio-Pleistocene. [less ▲]

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See detailPhylogeography and evolutionary history of Leopoldamys neilli, a Murinae rodent endemic to limestone karsts, in Thailand
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

Conference (2012, May 15)

Limestone karsts are highly threatened biodiversity hotspots supporting high levels of endemic species. Karsts are patchy distributed within Southeast Asia and their isolation from one another give them ... [more ▼]

Limestone karsts are highly threatened biodiversity hotspots supporting high levels of endemic species. Karsts are patchy distributed within Southeast Asia and their isolation from one another give them the features of “islands on the continent” and has important consequences for the genetic structure of endemic taxa. In present study, we have studied the phylogeography of Neill’s Rat Leopoldamys neilli, a threatened Murinae rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, on the basis of two mitochondrial markers, two nuclear fragments, as well as twelve microsatellite loci. Our study gave evidence of a complex and strong geographic structure of the genetic diversity for L. neilli. Several highly differentiated genetic lineages were observed throughout Thailand. These results suggest a severe fragmentation of L. neilli’s populations, correlated to the fragmented distribution of its habitat and highlight its high endemicity to limestone karsts. The evolutionary history of L. neilli was investigated using Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and our results suggest that the current phylogeographic pattern of this species result from several deep vicariant events during Plio-Pleistocene. To conclude, this study revealed an unexpected high level of intraspecific diversity within L. neilli. These results consolidate the importance to strengthen the protection of limestone habitats and to preserve not only their high interspecific but also intraspecific diversity. [less ▲]

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See detailThe optimization of microsatellite genotyping and genetic sexing of non-invasively collected polar bear tissue: Implications for monitoring and census.
Harris, Christopher; Van Coeverden De Groot, Peter; Kamookak, L et al

Conference (2012, April)

The monitoring of Polar Bears in Canada has been completed largely through management unit (MU) wide capture-mark-recapture (CMR) surveys. While this data is very useful at the time of collection, these ... [more ▼]

The monitoring of Polar Bears in Canada has been completed largely through management unit (MU) wide capture-mark-recapture (CMR) surveys. While this data is very useful at the time of collection, these surveys are expensive and take time to plan and execute; cannot be feasibly executed across the polar bear range at intervals that reflect the expected rapid environmental changes in the Arctic; and are disdained by the Inuit as being invasive. As part of recent efforts to explore less expensive and non-invasive methods to monitor polar bears (see Wong et al & Van Coevderden de Groot et al this conference) we are evaluating genetic information obtained from non-invasively collected polar bear tissue. In this work we report on the genetic data obtained from non-invasively collected harisnags recovered from sampling stations erected between May-June 2006-2009 in M’Clintock Channel, Nunavut. Across the 4 years 344 hair snags were collected; following Paetkau (2004) we optimized 6 microsatellite loci to reliably amplify polar bear DNA from this tissue and we modified the procedure of Pages et al (2009) to reliably genetically sex these tissues. Our estimates for two common errors with this type of tissue across all loci – allelic dropout (0.026) and false allele (0.03) - were both less than p =.05. This suggests these errors are not going to significantly affect the accuracy of the consensus genotypes collected from these data. Using consensus genotypes from relevant hairsnags, we posit a minimum of 59 (max 82) unique bears entered our sampling stations. Of these, 24% were female, 64% were male, and 12% could not be sexed. We resampled 2 bears in 2006, 1 in 2007, 0 bears in 2008 and 14 bears in 2009 – the 2009 value reflects significantly increased sampling effort in 2009. Five bears were re-sampled between the non-invasive surveys in 2006-2009. When comparing our data to a subset of cubs and subadults captured during the Taylor et al. (2006) CMR survey of M’Clintock Channel (MU), we found 6 genotype matches. Our sampling stations may have a male bias as the sex ratio from the 1998-2000 CMR study was 42.1% ♂ (Taylor et al 2006) vs. 64% ♂ (this study). We cannot accurately determine the age bias (but see Wong et al this conference). Genetic data from Polar bear faecal samples may provide an unbiased sex and age sample of polar bears in any MU. Any data from these samples will help refine hairsnag derived MKNA estimate of polar bears from any MU. Here we report on our efforts to genotype and genetically sex 95 faecals we have collected from M’Clintock Channel from 2006-2009. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings, results from other noninvasive work (Wong et al & Van Coevderden de Groot et al this conference) and ongoing/proposed work in the context of i) a non-invasive Inuit-based polar bear activity and health survey, and ii) a more rigorous census method which may allow more precise adjustments of harvest levels than currently possible using infrequently collected CMR data only. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of a complex phylogeographic structure in the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius (Rodentia: Gliridae)
Mouton, Alice ULg; Grill, Andrea; Sara, Maurizio et al

in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2012), 105(3), 648-664

This is the first mitochondrial phylogeography of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius (Linnaeus, 1758), a hibernating rodent strictly protected in Europe (Habitat Directive, annex IV; Bern ... [more ▼]

This is the first mitochondrial phylogeography of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius (Linnaeus, 1758), a hibernating rodent strictly protected in Europe (Habitat Directive, annex IV; Bern Convention, annex III). The 84 individuals of M. avellanarius, sampled throughout the distributional range of the species, have been sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA gene (cytochrome b, 704 base pairs). The results revealed two highly divergent lineages, with an ancient separation around 7.7 Mya and a genetic divergence of 7.7%. Lineage 1 occurs in Western Europe (France, Belgium, and Switzerland) and Italy, and lineage 2 occurs in Central–Northern Europe (Poland, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania), on the Balkan Peninsula, and in Turkey. Furthermore, these two lineages are subdivided into five sublineages genetically isolated with a strong geographical association. Therefore, lineage 1 branches into two further sublineages (Western European and Italian), whereas lineage 2 contained three sublineages (Central–Northern European, Turkish, and Balkan). We observed low genetic diversity within the sublineages, in contrast to the significant level of genetic differentiation between them. The understanding of genetic population structure is essential for identifying units to be conserved. Therefore, these results may have important implications for M. avellanarius conservation. [less ▲]

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See detailComplex genetic structures between nascent species in Southeast Asian Black rats (Rattus rattus complex)
Pagès, Marie ULg; Bazin, Eric; Galan, Maxime et al

Scientific conference (2012, January 19)

Black rats are among the major invasive vertebrates with severe ecological, economic and health impacts. Remarkably, their evolutionary history has received little attention and there is no firm agreement ... [more ▼]

Black rats are among the major invasive vertebrates with severe ecological, economic and health impacts. Remarkably, their evolutionary history has received little attention and there is no firm agreement on how many species should be recognized within the Black rat complex. Members of the species complex are native from India and Southeast Asia. Current taxonomy suggests that three taxa live in sympatry in several places of Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic where the present study was conducted: two accepted species (Rattus tanezumi, Rattus sakeratensis) and an additional mitochondrial lineage of unclear taxonomic status here referred as ‘Rattus R3’. We used an extensive sampling, morphological data and diverse genetic markers of different evolutionary rates and parental inheritance (two mitochondrial DNA genes, one nuclear gene and eight microsatellite loci) to assess the reproductive isolation between these three taxa. Two close Asian relatives, Rattus argentiventer and Rattus exulans, were included in the genetic analyses for comparison. Genetic analyses revealed discordant patterns between the mitochondrial and the nuclear data. The mitochondrial phylogeny identified three reciprocally monophyletic clades in the Black rat complex. Yet, the phylogeny of the nuclear exon IRBP and the clustering and assignation analyses using the eight microsatellites failed to separate tanezumi and R3. Morphometric analyses reinforced the nuclear data. The incongruence between mitochondrial data and nuclear (and morphological) data, render tanezumi/R3 paraphyletic for mitochondrial lineages with respect to sakeratensis. Different evolutionary processes such as shared ancestral polymorphism and incomplete lineage sorting or hybridization with massive mitochondrial introgression between incipient species may be invoked to account for this unusual genetic pattern in mammals. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing phylogeography to promote dormouse conservation: the case of Muscardinus avellanarius (Rodentia, Gliridae)
Mouton, Alice ULg; Grill, Andrea; Sara, Maurizio et al

in Peckiana (2012), 8

This study describes the phylogeographic history of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, a rodent strictly protected in Europe (Habitat Directive, annex IV ; Bern Convention, annex III ). We ... [more ▼]

This study describes the phylogeographic history of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, a rodent strictly protected in Europe (Habitat Directive, annex IV ; Bern Convention, annex III ). We analyzed the genetics of 120 common dormice across the species’ range, using sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (704 pb). The dataset obtained was analyzed using different phylogenetic reconstructions as well as other methods adapted to phylogeography. A complex phylogeographic pattern has been retrieved from the mitochondrial DN A gene, with the presence of two highly divergent lineages. These two lineages are themselves subdivided into five sublineages, which should be regarded as independent conservation units. Low genetic diversity was observed within each of the lineages, in contrast to an important level of genetic differentiation between them. These results have important implications for the conservation of this dormouse and will help to propose the best management measures for this species. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of complex phylogeographic structure for the threatened rodent Leopoldamys neilli endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand
Latinne, Alice ULg; Waengsothorn, Surachit; Herbreteau, Vincent et al

Conference (2011, July 21)

Limestone karsts are highly threatened biodiversity hotspots supporting huge levels of endemic species. Karsts are patchy distributed within Southeast Asia and their isolation from one another give them ... [more ▼]

Limestone karsts are highly threatened biodiversity hotspots supporting huge levels of endemic species. Karsts are patchy distributed within Southeast Asia and their isolation from one another give them the features of “islands on the continent”. We have studied the phylogeography of Neill’s Rat Leopoldamys neilli, a threatened murine rodent species endemic to limestone karsts of Thailand, in order to assess the influence of its endemicity to karst habitat on its phylogeographic pattern. Two hundred twenty-two individuals of L. neilli were collected in 26 limestone karsts throughout the geographical range of this species and were used in this study. Phylogeographic structure and population genetics of L. neilli were investigated on the basis of two mitochondrial markers, the cytochrome b gene and the cytochrome c oxydase subunit I gene, two nuclear fragments, the β-fibrinogen intron 7 and the intron 1 of the X-linked gene G6pd, and 12 microsatellite loci. Our study gave evidence of a complex and strong geographic structure of the genetic diversity for L. neilli. Several highly differentiated genetic lineages were observed throughout Thailand. These results suggest a severe fragmentation of L. neilli’s populations, correlated to the fragmented distribution of its habitat and highlight its high endemicity to limestone karsts. In conclusion, this study revealed an unexpected high level of intraspecific diversity within L. neilli. These results consolidate the importance to strengthen the protection of limestone habitats and to preserve not only their huge interspecific but also intraspecific diversity. [less ▲]

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See detailHow many species in the Black rat complex (Rattus rattus sensu lato) in Southeast Asia?
Pagès, Marie ULg; Galan, Maxime; Chaval, Yannick et al

Conference (2011, July)

Black rats are among the major invasive vertebrates with severe ecological, economic and health impacts. Remarkably, the evolutionary history of black rats has received little attention and there is no ... [more ▼]

Black rats are among the major invasive vertebrates with severe ecological, economic and health impacts. Remarkably, the evolutionary history of black rats has received little attention and there is no firm agreement as how many species should be recognized within the Rattus rattus complex. Members of the species complex are native from India and Southeast Asia. Current taxonomy suggests that four taxa live in sympatry in several places of Thailand and Cambodia where the present study was conducted: three accepted species (R. tanezumi, R. losea, R. argentiventer) and an additional lineage of unclear taxonomic status sometimes referred as Rattus R3. We used an extensive sampling, morphological data and diverse genetic markers of different evolutionary rates and parental inheritance (two mtDNA genes, one nuclear gene and eight microsatellite loci) to assess the genetic structure among the four taxa. Genetic analyses revealed discordant patterns between the mt and the nuclear data. The mt phylogeny identified three reciprocally monophyletic clades corresponding to the four putative taxa while the nuclear phylogeny failed to separate tanezumi and R3. Within geographic localities, microsatellites revealed free gene flow between tanezumi and R3 but no gene flow between those two taxa and losea or argentiventer. Altogether theses analyses do not support the taxon R3 as a valid species and advocate for synonymy with tanezumi. As a consequence, R. tanezumi becomes paraphyletic with respect to losea. Simulation analyses are now ongoing to determine whether a recent speciation event between tanezumi and losea, or an incomplete lineage sorting within tanezumi could explain this uncommon pattern. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen morphometrics meet genetics: the case of the common dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius
Mouton, Alice ULg; Renaud, Sabrina; Michaux, Johan ULg

Poster (2011, July)

The aim of the study is to apply geometric morphometrics to the study of evolutionary processes that might have driven intra-specific differentiation of the common dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius in ... [more ▼]

The aim of the study is to apply geometric morphometrics to the study of evolutionary processes that might have driven intra-specific differentiation of the common dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius in Europe. The analysis of phenotypic features appears as a valuable complement to genetic analyses, providing a insight into evolutionary processes such as differentiation by vicariance or adaptation to different environments. Previous genetic studies based on mtDNA genes revealed a complex phylogeographic pattern for the common dormouse with the presence of two highly divergent lineages subdivided into geographic sublineages. We thus investigated whether this genetic differentiation leads to morphometric differences. We examined 150 museum specimens of dormouse from 34 localities in 12 countries. For each specimen, the size and shape of the first upper molar was quantified using an outline analysis based on Fourier methods. A geographic structure emerges from the morphometric pattern of differentiation, partially corresponding to the expectations based on the genetic results. The main differentiation, however, was unexpected and revealed a divergent Austrian cluster. This region was not documented so far for genetic analyses and morphometric data therefore challenge a more extensive sampling of this species that might reveal the existence of a further lineage. [less ▲]

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