Canadian Forest Service Publications

Inferring the past from the present plylogeographic structure of North American forest trees: seeing the forest for the genes. 2009. Jaramillo-Correa, J.P.; Beaulieu, J.; Khasa, D.P.; Bousquet, J. Can. J. For. Res. 39: 286-307.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29456

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/X08-181

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The study of past historical events that have led to ecological changes in a recurrent topic in many disciplines. Given that many of these events have left a large and long-lasting evolutionary imprint on the extant population genetic structure of species, phylogeographic studies on modern taxa have been largely used to infer the impacts of these events and to complement previous paleoecological and paleobotanical surveys. In spite of the geographical and geolocial complexity of North America, converging patterns can be observed when comparing the available genetic data for forest trees. Such patterns include the co-location of genetic discontinuities among species and their coincidence with mountain ranges (e.g. the Appalachians, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, or the Transverse Volcanic Belt) and with previously inferred glacial refugia. Using examples drawn from the available literature, we illustrate such shared features and present the contrasting phylogeographic patterns observed among the different regions of the continent. The various evolutionary consequences of historical events that can be deduced from these phylogeographic studies (e.g., past bottlenecks, founder effects, allopatric divergence, or introgressive hybridization) are additionally discussed. The present challenges and future research prospects that are likely to further advance this field are finally outlined.