Mountain barriers and river conduits: phylogeographical structure in a large, mobile lizard (Varanidae: Varanus varius) from eastern Australia

Smissen, Peter J., Melville, Jane, Sumner, Joanna and Jessop, Tim S. 2013, Mountain barriers and river conduits: phylogeographical structure in a large, mobile lizard (Varanidae: Varanus varius) from eastern Australia, Journal of biogeography, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 1729-1740, doi: 10.1111/jbi.12128.

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Title Mountain barriers and river conduits: phylogeographical structure in a large, mobile lizard (Varanidae: Varanus varius) from eastern Australia
Author(s) Smissen, Peter J.
Melville, Jane
Sumner, Joanna
Jessop, Tim S.ORCID iD for Jessop, Tim S. orcid.org/0000-0002-7712-4373
Journal name Journal of biogeography
Volume number 40
Issue number 9
Start page 1729
End page 1740
Total pages 12
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2013-09
ISSN 0305-0270
1365-2699
Summary Aim: Across eastern Australia, mountain ranges (the Great Dividing Range) and river catchments (the Murray-Darling Basin) are likely to have shaped the phylogeographical structure of many species. We address how such processes have influenced the phylogeography of the lace monitor, Varanus varius, a large mobile lizard. Location: Eastern and south-eastern Australia. Methods: Phylogeographical hypotheses were tested using up to 90 museum and field-collected samples from across the entire species' range; a 671-bp region of the mtDNA gene ND4 was sequenced and all individuals were genotyped (eight microsatellite loci). Results: Maximum-likelihood analysis of sequence data revealed three geographically separate clades, with divergences estimated to have occurred during the Pleistocene. The south-eastern clade showed an expansion pattern from northern refugia and dispersal appears to have occurred along the Murray-Darling river system. Microsatellite analyses support mtDNA clades but indicate secondary contact in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Main conclusions: Our results indicate that phylogeographical structure and contemporary gene flow in Varanus varius is shaped by dispersal capacity, geographical barriers and the presence of ancient river corridors. Indeed, only the most significant geological (McPherson Range) and habitat barriers (Burdekin Gap) appear to limit gene flow in this species. The expansion of the clade on the western side of the Great Dividing Range suggests that ancient riparian corridors have facilitated extensive gene flow. Our study highlights the importance of understanding a species' ecological dynamics when examining broad-scale evolutionary patterns.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/jbi.12128
Field of Research 060303 Biological Adaptation
060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography
04 Earth Sciences
05 Environmental Sciences
06 Biological Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, John Wiley & Sons
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081799

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