Despite the importance of the geographical arrangement of populations for the inference of species boundaries, only a few approaches that integrate spatial information into species delimitation have thus far been developed. Persistent differentiation of sympatric groups of individuals is the best criterion for species status. Species delimitation becomes more prone to error if allopatric metapopulations are considered because it is often difficult to assess whether observed differences between allopatric metapopulations would be sufficient to prevent the fusion of these metapopulations upon contact. We propose a novel approach for testing the hypothesis that the multilocus genetic distances between individuals or populations belonging to two different candidate species are not larger than expected based on their geographical distances and the relationship of genetic and geographical distances within the candidate species. A rejection of this null hypothesis is an argument for classifying the two studied candidate species as distinct species. Case studies show that the proposed tests are suitable to distinguish between intra- and interspecific differentiation. The regression approach proposed here is more appropriate for testing species hypotheses with regard to isolation by distance than (partial) Mantel tests. Our tests assume a linear relationship between genetic and (transformed) geographical distances. This assumption can be compromised by a high genetic variability within populations as found in a case study with microsatellite markers.

Species delimitation and geography

Hennig C.
2020

Abstract

Despite the importance of the geographical arrangement of populations for the inference of species boundaries, only a few approaches that integrate spatial information into species delimitation have thus far been developed. Persistent differentiation of sympatric groups of individuals is the best criterion for species status. Species delimitation becomes more prone to error if allopatric metapopulations are considered because it is often difficult to assess whether observed differences between allopatric metapopulations would be sufficient to prevent the fusion of these metapopulations upon contact. We propose a novel approach for testing the hypothesis that the multilocus genetic distances between individuals or populations belonging to two different candidate species are not larger than expected based on their geographical distances and the relationship of genetic and geographical distances within the candidate species. A rejection of this null hypothesis is an argument for classifying the two studied candidate species as distinct species. Case studies show that the proposed tests are suitable to distinguish between intra- and interspecific differentiation. The regression approach proposed here is more appropriate for testing species hypotheses with regard to isolation by distance than (partial) Mantel tests. Our tests assume a linear relationship between genetic and (transformed) geographical distances. This assumption can be compromised by a high genetic variability within populations as found in a case study with microsatellite markers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/848935
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