Identifying genetic structure and divergence between Zonotrichia leucophrys subspecies and habitat ecotypes

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Oguntuase-Osagie, Bukola G.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Habitat heterogeneity which includes environmental conditions are known to increase species richness and may lead to speciation or genetic structure. This study used a combination of novel approaches to assess genetic differences in populations of two Zonotrichia leucophrys subspecies found in two different habitats: alpine coniferous and riparian deciduous forests. Our study also provided genetic support for the divergence within the Zonotrichia leucophrys clade. The application of triple digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (3dRADseq) and low-coverage whole genome sequencing (lcWGS) showed for the first time clear genetic divergence among Z. l. pugetensis, Z. l. gambelii and Z. l. oriantha, and between the habitat ecotypes. The use of outlier loci showed that it can detect recent divergence. This study has not only clearly defined genetic structure in the habitat ecotypes and subspecies but has also shown that local conditions defining the habitat play a prominent role in genetic structure of populations.
Zonotrichia leucophrys , Genetic structure , Genetic divergence , Habitat ecotypes , Riparian deciduous , Alpine coniferous