Habitat modeling and genetic signatures of postglacial recolonization for tidal estuaries

Monday, 15 December 2014: 1:55 PM
Greer A Dolby and David K Jacobs, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Pleistocene glacial cycles are a foremost influence on the genetic diversity and species distribution patterns observed today. Though much work has centered on biotic response to such climatic forcing, little of it has regarded estuarine or other aquatic coastal taxa whose habitat formation is a function of sea level, hydrography, and coastal geomorphology. These physical parameters required for habitat formation suggest that glacial cycles impart a significant effect on such taxa through glacially driven eustatic changes. Additionally, the steepened coastline and rainfall-limited Mediterranean climate suggest limited glacial habitat for estuarine species in southern and Baja California. Here we present GIS modeled habitat for tidal estuaries for three co-distributed estuarine fishes (Gillichthys mirabilis, Quietula y-cauda, Fundulus parvipinnis) since the last glacial maximum. Parameterization of sea level and slope enables biologically relevant temporal resolution of near-millennial scale. At lowstand our approach reveals two refuges along the coast at 1000km distance from each other, with habitat rapidly increasing 15 - 12 ka during meltwater pulse 1A. Habitat area peaked in the early Holocene and began decreasing with the current stillstand roughly 7 ka, probably as a result of coastal maturation towards less tidal systems.

To target the postglacial recolonization process we applied discriminant function analysis to highly polymorphic microsatellite data to partition out the alleles associated with refuges identified a priori by habitat modeling. The frequencies of these alleles were calculated for all individuals at intervening populations and regressed against geographic distance. This analysis revealed nonlinear mixing curves, suggesting uneven allelic mixing efficiency along the coastline, perhaps as a result of differential habitat origination times as indicated by the habitat models. These results highlight the dynamism of estuarine habitat in recent geologic time, and the widespread extirpation-recolonization dynamic that may be common to species isolated in habitat ‘islands’ populations. Finally, this interdisciplinary approach afforded a more thorough view of estuarine system evolutionary dynamics through time than achievable through either discipline alone.