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Too much of a good thing: sea ice extent may have forced emperor penguins into refugia during the last glacial maximum

TitleToo much of a good thing: sea ice extent may have forced emperor penguins into refugia during the last glacial maximum
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsYounger J.L, Clucas G.V, Kooyman G., Wienecke B., Rogers A.D, Trathan P.N, Hart T., Miller K.J
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Date Published2015/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1354-1013
Accession NumberWOS:000353977500010
Keywordsadelie land; Ancient DNA; antarctica; Aptenodytes forsteri; aptenodytes-forsteri; climate change ecology; climate-change; continental-shelf; east antarctica; ecology; mitochondrial-dna; molecular; molecular clock; nucleotide substitutions; paleoecology; phylogeography; polynya; ross sea; southern-ocean

The relationship between population structure and demographic history is critical to understanding microevolution and for predicting the resilience of species to environmental change. Using mitochondrial DNA from extant colonies and radiocarbon-dated subfossils, we present the first microevolutionary analysis of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) and show their population trends throughout the last glacial maximum (LGM, 19.5-16 kya) and during the subsequent period of warming and sea ice retreat. We found evidence for three mitochondrial clades within emperor penguins, suggesting that they were isolated within three glacial refugia during the LGM. One of these clades has remained largely isolated within the Ross Sea, while the two other clades have intermixed around the coast of Antarctica from Adelie Land to the Weddell Sea. The differentiation of the Ross Sea population has been preserved despite rapid population growth and opportunities for migration. Low effective population sizes during the LGM, followed by a rapid expansion around the beginning of the Holocene, suggest that an optimum set of sea ice conditions exist for emperor penguins, corresponding to available foraging area.

Short TitleGlob. Change Biol.
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