MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Influence of environmental heterogeneity on the distribution and persistence of a subterranean rodent in a highly unstable landscape
GÓMEZ FERNÁNDEZ JIMENA; BOSTON EMMA; MIROL PATRICIA; KITTLEIN MARCELO; GAGGIOTTI OSCAR
Lugar: Berlin; Año: 2016 vol. 144 p. 711 - 711
In this study we combine information fromlandscape characteristics, demographic inference and spe-cies distribution modelling to identify environmental fac-tors that shape the genetic distribution of the fossorialrodent Ctenomys. We sequenced the mtDNA control regionand amplified 12 microsatellites from 27 populations dis-tributedacrosstheIbera ́wetlandecosystem.HierarchicalBayesian modelling was used to construct phylogenies andestimate divergence times. We developed species distri-bution models to determine what climatic variables and soilparameters predicted species presence by comparing thecurrent to the historic and predicted future distribution ofthe species. Finally, we explore the impact of environ-mental variables on the genetic structure of Ctenomysbased on current and past species distributions. The vari-ables that consistently correlated with the predicted dis-tribution of the species and explained the observed geneticdifferentiation among populations included the distribution of well-drained sandy soils and temperature seasonality. Acore region of stable suitable habitat was identified fromthe Last Interglacial, which is projected to remainstable into the future. This region is also the most geneti-cally diverse and is currently under strong anthropogenicpressure. Results reveal complex demographic dynamics,which have been in constant change in both time and space,and are likely linked to the evolution of the Parana ́ River.We suggest that any alteration of soil properties (climaticor anthropic) may significantly impact the availability ofsuitable habitat and consequently the ability of individualsto disperse. The protection of this core stable habitat is ofprime importance given the increasing levels of humandisturbance across this wetland system and the threat ofclimate change.