Geographic variation in hybridization and ecological differentiation between three syntopic, morphologically similar species of montane lizards
ML Haines, J Melville, J Sumner, N Clemann, DG Chapple, D Stuart-Fox
Molecular Ecology | WILEY | Published : 2016
To understand factors shaping species boundaries in closely related taxa, a powerful approach is to compare levels of genetic admixture at multiple points of contact and determine how this relates to intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as genetic, morphological and ecological differentiation. In the Australian Alps, the threatened alpine bog skink Pseudemoia cryodroma co-occurs with two morphologically and ecologically similar congeners, P. entrecasteauxii and P. pagenstecheri, and all three species are suspected to hybridize. We predicted that the frequency of hybridization should be negatively correlated with genetic divergence, morphological differentiation and microhabitat separation. ..View full abstract
We thank A. Moussalli for insightful discussions, and we thank L. Beilharz, R. Groenewegen, S. Heap, K. Howard and M. Scroggie for assistance with specimen and tissue collection. We thank the Department of Environment and Primary Industries for in-kind support. C. Moritz, C. Schneider and anonymous reviewers provided useful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Funding was provided to M.L.H. through the Holsworth Wildlife Research Foundation, Museum Victoria 1854 Student Scholarship, Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship and Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia. D.G.C. was supported by a Monash University Linkage Project Application Support (LPAS) grant.