Phylogeographic and population genetic structure of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in North American deserts

Michael R. Buchalski, Benjamin Sacks, Daphne A. Gille, Cecilia Penedo, Holly B Ernest, Scott A. Morrison, Walter M Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fossil data are ambiguous regarding the evolutionary origin of contemporary desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis subspecies). To address this uncertainty, we conducted phylogeographic and population genetic analyses on bighorn sheep subspecies found in southwestern North America. We analyzed 515 base pairs of mtDNA control region sequence and 39 microsatellites in 804 individuals from 58 locations. Phylogenetic analyses revealed 2 highly divergent clades concordant with Sierra Nevada (O. c. sierrae) and Rocky Mountain (O. c. canadensis) bighorn and showed that these 2 subspecies both diverged from desert bighorn prior to or during the Illinoian glaciation (~315-94 thousand years ago [kya]). Desert bighorn comprised several more recently diverged haplogroups concordant with the putative Nelson (O. c. nelsoni), Mexican (O. c. mexicana), and Peninsular (O. c. cremnobates) subspecies. Corresponding estimates of effective splitting times (~17-3 kya), and haplogroup ages (~85-72 kya) placed the most likely timeframe for divergence among desert bighorn subspecies somewhere within the last glacial maximum. Median-joining haplotype network and Bayesian skyline analyses both indicated that desert bighorn collectively comprised a historically large and haplotype-diverse population, which subsequently lost much of its diversity through demographic decline. Using microsatellite data, discriminant analysis of principle components (DAPC) and Bayesian clustering analyses both indicated genetic structure concordant with the geographic distribution of 3 desert subspecies. Likewise, microsatellite and mitochondrial-based F ST comparisons revealed significant fixation indices among the desert bighorn genetic clusters. We conclude these desert subspecies represent ancient lineages likely descended from separate Pleistocene refugial populations and should therefore be managed as distinct taxa to preserve maximal biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-838
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume97
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 9 2016

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Bighorn Sheep
Ovis canadensis
Genetic Structures
Population Genetics
sheep
Microsatellite Repeats
genetic structure
population genetics
deserts
subspecies
Bayes Theorem
desert
Haplotypes
Biodiversity
Discriminant Analysis
North America
Mitochondrial DNA
Base Pairing
Population
Uncertainty

Keywords

  • desert bighorn sheep
  • desert southwest
  • divergence date
  • glacial refugia
  • haplotype
  • microsatellites
  • mtDNA
  • Ovis canadensis
  • phylogeography
  • subspecies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Phylogeographic and population genetic structure of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in North American deserts. / Buchalski, Michael R.; Sacks, Benjamin; Gille, Daphne A.; Penedo, Cecilia; Ernest, Holly B; Morrison, Scott A.; Boyce, Walter M.

In: Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 97, No. 3, 09.06.2016, p. 823-838.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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