The influence of Pleistocene climatic oscillations on shaping the genetic structure of Asian biota is poorly known. The Japanese pipistrelle bat occurs over a wide range in eastern Asia, from Siberia to Japan. To test the relative impact of ancient and more recent events on genetic structure in this species, we combined mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and microsatellite markers to reconstruct its phylogeographic and demographic history on continental China and its offshore islands, Hainan Island and the Zhoushan Archipelago. Our mitochondrial DNA tree recovered two divergent geographical clades, indicating multiple glacial refugia in the region. The first clade was mainly confined to Hainan Island, indicating that gene flow between this population and the continent has been restricted, despite being repeatedly connected to the mainland during repeated glacial episodes. By contrast, haplotypes sampled on the Zhoushan Archipelago were mixed with those from the mainland, suggesting a recent shared history of expansion. Although microsatellite allele frequencies showed clear discontinuities across the sampling range, supporting the current isolation of both Hainan Island and the Zhoushan Archipelago, we also found clear evidence of more recent back colonization, probably via post-glacial expansion or, in the latter case, occasional long distance dispersal. The results obtained highlight the importance of using multiple sets of markers for teasing apart the roles of ancient and more recent events on population genetic structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics