Fragmented species complexes provide an interesting system for investigating biogeographic history and the present distribution of genetic variation. Recent advances in sequencing technology and statistical phylogeography enable the collection and rigorous analysis of large multilocus data sets, but designing studies that produce meaningful phylogeographic inferences remains challenging. We implemented a Bayesian model comparison approach to investigate previous biogeographic hypotheses while simultaneously inferring the presence of genetic structure in a chorus frog species complex. The Illinois chorus frog (Pseudacris illinoensis), originally described as a subspecies of the broadly distributed Strecker's chorus frog (Pseudacris streckeri), occurs in small, disjunct regions associated with scarce sand prairie habitats that have been impacted by human development. We used high-throughput sequencing to develop and collect a multitiered genetic data set comprised of three different marker types (23 anonymous nuclear sequence loci, four mitochondrial genes and 14 microsatellite loci) designed to address questions across different evolutionary timescales. Phylogenetic analyses uncovered a deep divergence between populations in the Edwards Plateau of central Texas and all other P. streckeri/P. illinoensis populations, but suggest the disjunct distribution of P. illinoensis occurred more recently. Our best-supported migration model is consistent with the hypothesis that central Texas represented a refugium from which populations expanded via multiple routes. This model also indicates that disjunct northern and southern regions of P. illinoensis should be considered genetically distinct management units. Our study provides an evolutionary context for future studies and conservation efforts in P. illinoensis and demonstrates the utility of model-based approaches for phylogeographic inference.
- Illinois chorus frog
- parallel tagged sequencing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics