Phylogeographic and population insights of the Asian common toad (Bufo gargarizans) in Korea and China: Population isolation and expansions as response to the ice ages

Amaël Borzée, Joana L. Santos, Santiago Sánchez-Ramírez, Yoonhyuk Bae, Kyongman Heo, Yikweon Jang, Michael Joseph Jowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of ice ages on speciation have been well documented for many European and North American taxa. In contrast, very few studies have addressed the consequences of such environmental and topographical changes in North East Asian species. More precisely, the Korean Peninsula offers a unique model to assess patterns and processes of speciation as it hosts the northern- and eastern-most distribution limit of some widespread Asian taxa. Despite this, studies addressing phylogeographic patterns and population genetics in the peninsula and surrounding countries are few and studies for most families are lacking. Here we inferred the phylogenetic relationships of the common toad (Bufo gargarizans) fromSouth Korea and their North East Asian counterpart populations, based on mitochondrial data. Korean B. gargarizans GenBank BLASTs matched few individuals from nearby China, but the presence of a Korean clade suggests isolation on the Korean Peninsula, previous to the last glacial maximum, linked to sea level resurgence. Molecular clock calibrations within this group were used to date the divergence between clades and their relationship to paleo-climatic events in the area. Lack of genetic structure among South Korean populations and strong homogeneity between the Korean and some Chinese localities suggest weak isolation and recent expansion. Geographical projection of continuous coalescent maximum-cladecredibility trees shows an original Chinese expansion towards the Korean Peninsula through the Yellow Sea circa two million years ago with colonisation events dating circa 800 thousand years ago (K. y. a.). Following this colonisation, the data point to outgoing Korean Peninsula dispersal events throughout different periods, towards the North through land, and West through land bridge formations over the Yellow Sea during sea level falls. In accordance, demographic analyses revealed a population expansion in the Koran Peninsula circa 300 K. y. a., likely attributed to glacial cycle fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4044
JournalPeerJ
Volume2017
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Asia
  • Bufo gargarizans
  • China
  • Common Asian toad
  • Ice ages
  • Korea
  • Phylogeography

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