A biogeographical history and timeline for the evolution of Australian snapping turtles (Elseya: Chelidae) in Australia and New Guinea

Erica V. Todd, David Blair, Arthur GEORGES, Vimoksalehi Lukoschek, Dean R. Jerry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim: Our aim was to investigate the evolutionary response of a freshwater Gondwanan relictual lineage to ongoing aridification of the Australian landmass. Australian snapping turtles (Elseya spp.) are riverine specialist species and were used to examine biogeographical hypotheses associated with changes to riverine connectivity through eustatic sea-level change, landform development and aridity across this understudied region. Location: Northern and Eastern Australia and New Guinea. Methods: Phylogenetic relationships were inferred for all extant species of Elseya plus two putative species not yet described, from molecular data comprising mitochondrial (control region, ND4 and 16S) and nuclear (R35 intron) loci, using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods. A calibrated relaxed molecular clock was used to estimate divergence times. Intraspecific lineage structure and diversity were investigated using control region sequences analysed via haplotype networks and AMOVA. Results: Elseya species exhibited a striking degree of local endemism across their range. Four divergent clades corresponded geographically to New Guinea, southern New Guinea plus northern Australia, north-eastern Australia, and south-eastern Australia. These arose in the late Miocene (c. 5.82-9.7 Ma), diversifying further in the early Pleistocene (c. 2.2-2.43 Ma and 1.36-1.66 Ma), coincident with major phases of aridity and climatic upheaval. Main conclusions: The genus Elseya has a long vicariant history in Australia, closely tied to disconnection of fluvial habitat through landform evolution, sea-level rise and ongoing aridification. Our analysis paints a more complete picture of Australian freshwater biogeography, including evidence for periodic connectivity with New Guinea, important regional biogeographical barriers, and the location of potential freshwater refugia. Congruence with patterns described for terrestrial groups implies a collective response of the Australian fauna to aridification.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)905-918
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Biogeography
    Volume41
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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    Chelidae
    Chelydridae
    New Guinea
    aridification
    turtle
    history
    aridity
    dry environmental conditions
    landforms
    connectivity
    sea level
    landform evolution
    endemism
    refugium
    biogeography
    sea level change
    paints
    landform
    Bayesian theory
    refuge habitats

    Cite this

    Todd, Erica V. ; Blair, David ; GEORGES, Arthur ; Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi ; Jerry, Dean R. / A biogeographical history and timeline for the evolution of Australian snapping turtles (Elseya: Chelidae) in Australia and New Guinea. In: Journal of Biogeography. 2014 ; Vol. 41, No. 5. pp. 905-918.
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    abstract = "Aim: Our aim was to investigate the evolutionary response of a freshwater Gondwanan relictual lineage to ongoing aridification of the Australian landmass. Australian snapping turtles (Elseya spp.) are riverine specialist species and were used to examine biogeographical hypotheses associated with changes to riverine connectivity through eustatic sea-level change, landform development and aridity across this understudied region. Location: Northern and Eastern Australia and New Guinea. Methods: Phylogenetic relationships were inferred for all extant species of Elseya plus two putative species not yet described, from molecular data comprising mitochondrial (control region, ND4 and 16S) and nuclear (R35 intron) loci, using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods. A calibrated relaxed molecular clock was used to estimate divergence times. Intraspecific lineage structure and diversity were investigated using control region sequences analysed via haplotype networks and AMOVA. Results: Elseya species exhibited a striking degree of local endemism across their range. Four divergent clades corresponded geographically to New Guinea, southern New Guinea plus northern Australia, north-eastern Australia, and south-eastern Australia. These arose in the late Miocene (c. 5.82-9.7 Ma), diversifying further in the early Pleistocene (c. 2.2-2.43 Ma and 1.36-1.66 Ma), coincident with major phases of aridity and climatic upheaval. Main conclusions: The genus Elseya has a long vicariant history in Australia, closely tied to disconnection of fluvial habitat through landform evolution, sea-level rise and ongoing aridification. Our analysis paints a more complete picture of Australian freshwater biogeography, including evidence for periodic connectivity with New Guinea, important regional biogeographical barriers, and the location of potential freshwater refugia. Congruence with patterns described for terrestrial groups implies a collective response of the Australian fauna to aridification.",
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    author = "Todd, {Erica V.} and David Blair and Arthur GEORGES and Vimoksalehi Lukoschek and Jerry, {Dean R.}",
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    A biogeographical history and timeline for the evolution of Australian snapping turtles (Elseya: Chelidae) in Australia and New Guinea. / Todd, Erica V.; Blair, David; GEORGES, Arthur; Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Jerry, Dean R.

    In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 41, No. 5, 05.2014, p. 905-918.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - A biogeographical history and timeline for the evolution of Australian snapping turtles (Elseya: Chelidae) in Australia and New Guinea

    AU - Todd, Erica V.

    AU - Blair, David

    AU - GEORGES, Arthur

    AU - Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi

    AU - Jerry, Dean R.

    PY - 2014/5

    Y1 - 2014/5

    N2 - Aim: Our aim was to investigate the evolutionary response of a freshwater Gondwanan relictual lineage to ongoing aridification of the Australian landmass. Australian snapping turtles (Elseya spp.) are riverine specialist species and were used to examine biogeographical hypotheses associated with changes to riverine connectivity through eustatic sea-level change, landform development and aridity across this understudied region. Location: Northern and Eastern Australia and New Guinea. Methods: Phylogenetic relationships were inferred for all extant species of Elseya plus two putative species not yet described, from molecular data comprising mitochondrial (control region, ND4 and 16S) and nuclear (R35 intron) loci, using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods. A calibrated relaxed molecular clock was used to estimate divergence times. Intraspecific lineage structure and diversity were investigated using control region sequences analysed via haplotype networks and AMOVA. Results: Elseya species exhibited a striking degree of local endemism across their range. Four divergent clades corresponded geographically to New Guinea, southern New Guinea plus northern Australia, north-eastern Australia, and south-eastern Australia. These arose in the late Miocene (c. 5.82-9.7 Ma), diversifying further in the early Pleistocene (c. 2.2-2.43 Ma and 1.36-1.66 Ma), coincident with major phases of aridity and climatic upheaval. Main conclusions: The genus Elseya has a long vicariant history in Australia, closely tied to disconnection of fluvial habitat through landform evolution, sea-level rise and ongoing aridification. Our analysis paints a more complete picture of Australian freshwater biogeography, including evidence for periodic connectivity with New Guinea, important regional biogeographical barriers, and the location of potential freshwater refugia. Congruence with patterns described for terrestrial groups implies a collective response of the Australian fauna to aridification.

    AB - Aim: Our aim was to investigate the evolutionary response of a freshwater Gondwanan relictual lineage to ongoing aridification of the Australian landmass. Australian snapping turtles (Elseya spp.) are riverine specialist species and were used to examine biogeographical hypotheses associated with changes to riverine connectivity through eustatic sea-level change, landform development and aridity across this understudied region. Location: Northern and Eastern Australia and New Guinea. Methods: Phylogenetic relationships were inferred for all extant species of Elseya plus two putative species not yet described, from molecular data comprising mitochondrial (control region, ND4 and 16S) and nuclear (R35 intron) loci, using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods. A calibrated relaxed molecular clock was used to estimate divergence times. Intraspecific lineage structure and diversity were investigated using control region sequences analysed via haplotype networks and AMOVA. Results: Elseya species exhibited a striking degree of local endemism across their range. Four divergent clades corresponded geographically to New Guinea, southern New Guinea plus northern Australia, north-eastern Australia, and south-eastern Australia. These arose in the late Miocene (c. 5.82-9.7 Ma), diversifying further in the early Pleistocene (c. 2.2-2.43 Ma and 1.36-1.66 Ma), coincident with major phases of aridity and climatic upheaval. Main conclusions: The genus Elseya has a long vicariant history in Australia, closely tied to disconnection of fluvial habitat through landform evolution, sea-level rise and ongoing aridification. Our analysis paints a more complete picture of Australian freshwater biogeography, including evidence for periodic connectivity with New Guinea, important regional biogeographical barriers, and the location of potential freshwater refugia. Congruence with patterns described for terrestrial groups implies a collective response of the Australian fauna to aridification.

    KW - Burdekin Gap

    KW - Chelidae

    KW - drainage divide

    KW - freshwater refugia

    KW - freshwater turtle

    KW - historical biogeography

    KW - Lake Carpentaria

    KW - molecular phylogeny

    KW - phylogeography.

    KW - Historical biogeography

    KW - Lake carpentaria

    KW - Drainage divide

    KW - Freshwater refugia

    KW - Molecular phylogeny

    KW - Phylogeography

    KW - Freshwater turtle

    KW - Burdekin gap

    KW - phylogeography

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