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Population differentiation in the context of Holocene climate change for a migratory marine species, the southern elephant seal.

Corrigan, L. J. and Fabiani, A. and Chauke, L. F. and McMahon, C. R. and de Bruyn, M. and Bester, M. N. and Bastos, A. and Campagna, C. and Muelbert, M. M. C. and Hoelzel, A. R. (2016) 'Population differentiation in the context of Holocene climate change for a migratory marine species, the southern elephant seal.', Journal of evolutionary biology., 29 (9). pp. 1667-1679.

Abstract

Understanding observed patterns of connectivity requires an understanding of the evolutionary processes that determine genetic structure among populations, with the most common models being associated with isolation by distance, allopatry or vicariance. Pinnipeds are annual breeders with the capacity for extensive range overlap during seasonal migrations, establishing the potential for the evolution of isolation by distance. Here, we assess the pattern of differentiation among six breeding colonies of the southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina, based on mtDNA and 15 neutral microsatellite DNA markers, and consider measures of their demography and connectivity. We show that all breeding colonies are genetically divergent and that connectivity in this highly mobile pinniped is not strongly associated with geographic distance, but more likely linked to Holocene climate change and demographic processes. Estimates of divergence times between populations were all after the last glacial maximum, and there was evidence for directional migration in a clockwise pattern (with the prevailing current) around the Antarctic. We discuss the mechanisms by which climate change may have contributed to the contemporary genetic structure of southern elephant seal populations and the broader implications.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12870
Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Corrigan, L. J., Fabiani, A., Chauke, L. F., McMahon, C. R., de Bruyn, M., Bester, M. N., Bastos, A., Campagna, C., Muelbert, M. M. C. and Hoelzel, A. R. (2016), Population differentiation in the context of Holocene climate change for a migratory marine species, the southern elephant seal. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 29(9): 1667-1679, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jeb.12870. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:22 March 2016
Date deposited:28 July 2016
Date of first online publication:07 June 2016
Date first made open access:07 June 2017

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