Genetic signals of demographic expansion in downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) after the last North American glacial maximum

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Pulgararín-R, Paulo C.
Burg, Theresa M.
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Public Library of Science
The glacial cycles of the Pleistocene have been recognized as important, large-scale historical processes that strongly influenced the demographic patterns and genetic structure of many species. Here we present evidence of a postglacial expansion for the Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), a common member of the forest bird communities in North America with a continental distribution. DNA sequences from the mitochondrial tRNA-Lys, and ATPase 6 and 8 genes, and microsatellite data from seven variable loci were combined with a species distribution model (SDM) to infer possible historical scenarios for this species after the last glacial maximum. Analyses of Downy Woodpeckers from 23 geographic areas suggested little differentiation, shallow genealogical relationships, and limited population structure across the species’ range. Microsatellites, which have higher resolution and are able to detect recent differences, revealed two geographic groups where populations along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains (Montana, Utah, Colorado, and southern Alberta) were genetically isolated from the rest of the sampled populations. Mitochondrial DNA, an important marker to detect historical patterns, recovered only one group. However, populations in Idaho and southeast BC contained high haplotype diversity and, in general were characterized by the absence of the most common mtDNA haplotype. The SDM suggested several areas in the southern US as containing suitable Downy Woodpecker habitat during the LGM. The lack of considerable geographic structure and the starburst haplotype network, combined with several population genetic tests, suggest a scenario of demographic expansion during the last part of Pleistocene and early Holocene.
Sherpa romeo green journal
Downy woodpecker , Birds -- Dispersal , Mitochondrial DNA , Last Glacial Maximum , Microsatellites (Genetics) , Population genetics
Pulgarín-R, P. C., & Burg, T. M. (2012). Genetic signals of demographic expansion in downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) after the last North American glacial maximum. PLoS ONE, 7(7), e40412. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040412