Refugia within refugia - patterns in endemism and genetic divergence are linked to Late Quaternary climate stability in the Iberian Peninsula

  • Abellán P
  • Svenning J
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In Europe, southern peninsulas served as major refugia during Pleistocene cold periods. However, growing evidence has revealed complex patterns of glacial survival within these southern regions, with multiple glacial refugia within each larger refugial area. We investigated the extent to which patterns of endemism and phylogeographic are concordant across animal species in the Iberian Peninsula, one of the most important unglaciated areas in Europe during the Pleistocene, can be explained in terms of climatic stability. We found that historical climatic stability (notably climate velocity measures integrating macroclimatic shifts with local spatial topoclimate gradients) was often among the most important predictors of endemic species richness for different taxonomic groups using models that also incorporated measures of modern climate. Furthermore, for some taxonomic groups, climatic stability was also correlated with patterns of spatial concordance in interpopulation genetic divergence across multiple taxa, and private haplotypes were more frequently found in relatively stable areas. Overall, our results suggest that both endemism patterns and cross-taxa concordant phylogeographic patterns across the Iberian Peninsula to some extent are linked to spatial variation in Late Quaternary climate stability, in agreement with the proposed ‘refugia-within-refugia’ scenario. © 2014 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2014, 113, 13–28.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Comparative phylogeography
  • Glacial refugia
  • Historical stability
  • Pleistocene

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  • Pedro Abellán

  • Jens Christian Svenning

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