Journal article

Threatened populations of the Australian squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) show evidence of evolutionary distinctiveness on a Late Pleistocene timescale

Alexandra Pavlova, Faith M Walker, Rodney van der Ree, Silvana Cesarini, Andrea C Taylor



The squirrel glider Petaurus norfolcensis occurs across a broad Australian latitudinal range that includes gaps in distribution and potential biogeographic barriers, creating the potential for evolution of distinct entities within this species. Because of the species' threatened status in the southern part of its range, we tested for the presence of geographically based independent evolutionary units among gliders sampled from southern, and northern coastal populations, using sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA (mtDNA) and a set of five nuclear microsatellites in 258 individuals. Our analyses suggest that an initial northward colonisation in the early- to mid-Pleistocene was followed..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Tina Ball (Environmental Protection Agency, QLD), David Sharpe (Southern Cross University), Steve Cooper and Mansooreh Malekian (South Australian Museum), Leo Joseph and Robert Palmer (Australian National Wildlife Collection), Steve Van Dyck and Heather Janetzki (Queensland Museum), Ray Thomas (Helmeted Honeyeater Project) and members of other land-care groups, for making genetic samples available to us. This manuscript has been greatly improved from discussions with Paul Sunnucks and his comments on the draft, and by the comments of two anonymous reviewers. Part of this work was carried out using the resources of the Computational Biology Service Unit from Cornell University, which is partially funded by Microsoft Corporation. Fiona Caryl produced the map for Fig. 1. We thank the Monash University School of Biological Sciences, Norman Wettenhall Foundation, Brisbane City Council, former versions of the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, The Baker Foundation and the M. A. Ingram Trust, for funding.