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Comparative phylogeography of unglaciated eastern North America
- SOLTIS, DOUGLAS E., MORRIS, ASHLEY B., McLACHLAN, JASON S., MANOS, PAUL S., SOLTIS, PAMELA S.
- Molecular ecology 2006 v.15 no.14 pp. 4261-4293
- animals, climate change, coasts, glaciation, ice, phylogeography, refuge habitats, researchers, rivers, Appalachian region, Europe, Mississippi River, Pacific States
- Regional phylogeographical studies involving co-distributed animal and plant species have been conducted for several areas, most notably for Europe and the Pacific Northwest of North America. Until recently, phylogeographical studies in unglaciated eastern North America have been largely limited to animals. As more studies emerge for diverse lineages (including plants), it seems timely to assess the phylogeography across this region: (i) comparing and contrasting the patterns seen in plants and animals; (ii) assessing the extent of pseudocongruence; and (iii) discussing the potential applications of regional phylogeography to issues in ecology, such as response to climatic change. Unglaciated eastern North America is a large, geologically and topographically complex area with the species examined having diverse distributions. Nonetheless, some recurrent patterns emerge: (i) maritime -- Atlantic vs. Gulf Coast; (ii) Apalachicola River discontinuity; (iii) Tombigbee River discontinuity; (iv) the Appalachian Mountain discontinuity; (v) the Mississippi River discontinuity; and (vi) the Apalachicola River and Mississippi River discontinuities. Although initially documented in animals, most of these patterns are also apparent in plants, providing support for phylogeographical generalizations. These patterns may generally be attributable to isolation and differentiation during Pleistocene glaciation, but in some cases may be older (Pliocene). Molecular studies sometimes agree with longstanding hypotheses of glacial refugia, but also suggest additional possible refugia, such as the southern Appalachian Mountains and areas close to the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Many species exhibit distinct patterns that reflect the unique, rather than the shared, aspects of species' phylogeographical histories. Furthermore, similar modern phylogeographical patterns can result from different underlying causal factors operating at different times (i.e. pseudocongruence). One underemphasized component of pseudocongruence may result from the efforts of researchers to categorize patterns visually -- similar patterns may, in fact, not fully coincide, and inferring agreement may obscure the actual patterns and lead to erroneous conclusions. Our modelling analyses indicate no clear spatial patterning and support the hypothesis that phylogeographical structure in diverse temperate taxa is complex and was not shaped by just a few barriers.