Multiple glacial refugia for cool-temperate deciduous trees in northern East Asia: the Mongolian Oak as a case study

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:Zeng, Y-F, Wang, W-T, Liao, W-J, Wang, H-F, Zhang, D-Y
Journal:Molecular Ecology
Keywords:East Asia ecological niche modelling molecular variation northern refugia Quaternary glaciations temperate forest

In East Asia, temperate forests are predicted to have retracted southward to c. 30º N during the last glacial maximum (LGM) based on fossil pollen data, whereas phylogeographic studies have often suggested glacial in situ survival of cool-temperate deciduous trees in their modern northern ranges. Here we report a study of the genetic diversity and structure of 29 natural Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) populations using 19 nuclear simple sequence repeat (nSSR) loci and four chloroplast DNA fragments. Bayesian clustering analysis with nSSRs revealed five groups, which were inferred by approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) to have diverged in multiple refugia through multiple glacial-interglacial cycles. Analysis of chloroplast DNA variation revealed four lineages that were largely but incompletely geographically disjunct. Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) indicated a southward range shift of the oak's distribution at the LGM, although high suitability scores were also evident in the Changbai Mts. (Northeast China), the Korean Peninsula, areas surrounding the Bohai Sea, and along the coast of the Russian Far East. In addition, endemic chloroplast DNA haplotypes and nuclear lineages occurred in high-latitude northern areas where the ENM predicted no suitable habitat. The combined evidence from nuclear and chloroplast DNA, and the results of the ENM clearly demonstrate that multiple northern refugia, including cryptic ones, were maintained across the current distributional range of the Mongolian oak during the LGM or earlier glacial periods. Though spatially limited, postglacial expansions from these refugia have led to a pattern of decreased genetic diversity with increasing latitude. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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