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Open Access Research article

Regionally and climatically restricted patterns of distribution of genetic diversity in a migratory bat species, Miniopterus schreibersii (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)

Raşit Bilgin123*, Ahmet Karataş4, Emrah Çoraman1, Todd Disotell5 and Juan Carlos Morales6

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Environmental Sciences, Boğaziçi University, Bebek 34342, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Department of Ecology Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027, USA

3 Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University, 1200 Amsterdam Avenue, MC 5557, New York, NY, 10027, USA

4 Niğde Üniversitesi, Zübeyde Hanım Sağlık Yüksekokulu, 51100 Niğde, Turkey

5 Department of Anthropology, New York University, 25 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10003, USA

6 California State University, Stanislaus, One University Circle Turlock, CA 95382, USA

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, 8:209  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-209

Published: 18 July 2008

Abstract

Background

Various mechanisms such as geographic barriers and glacial episodes have been proposed as determinants of intra-specific and inter-specific differentiation of populations, and the distribution of their genetic diversity. More recently, habitat and climate differences, and corresponding adaptations have been shown to be forces influencing the phylogeographic evolution of some vertebrates. In this study, we examined the contribution of these various factors on the genetic differentiation of the bent-winged bat, Miniopterus schreibersii, in southeastern Europe and Anatolia.

Results and conclusion

Our results showed differentiation in mitochondrial DNA coupled with weaker nuclear differentiation. We found evidence for restriction of lineages to geographical areas for hundreds of generations. The results showed that the most likely ancestral haplotype was restricted to the same geographic area (the Balkans) for at least 6,000 years. We were able to delineate the migration routes during the population expansion process, which followed the coasts and the inland for different nested mitochondrial clades. Hence, we were able to describe a scenario showing how multiple biotic and abiotic events including glacial periods, climate and historical dispersal patterns complemented each other in causing regional and local differentiation within a species.