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The impact of past climate change on genetic variation and population connectivity in the Icelandic arctic fox
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Systematic Zoology.
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2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 279, no 1747, 4568-4573 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have suggested that the presence of sea ice is an important factor in facilitating migration and determining the degree of genetic isolation among contemporary arctic fox populations. Because the extent of sea ice is dependent upon global temperatures, periods of significant cooling would have had a major impact on fox population connectivity and genetic variation. We tested this hypothesis by extracting and sequencing mitochondrial control region sequences from 17 arctic foxes excavated from two late-ninth-century to twelfth-century AD archaeological sites in northeast Iceland, both of which predate the Little Ice Age (approx. sixteenth to nineteenth century). Despite the fact that five haplotypes have been observed in modern Icelandic foxes, a single haplotype was shared among all of the ancient individuals. Results from simulations within an approximate Bayesian computation framework suggest that the rapid increase in Icelandic arctic fox haplotype diversity can only be explained by sea-ice-mediated fox immigration facilitated by the Little Ice Age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 279, no 1747, 4568-4573 p.
Keyword [en]
island biogeography, phylogeography, ancient DNA, approximate Bayesian computation
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83042DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1796ISI: 000310218400007OAI: diva2:573892


Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2012-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Sandoval Castellanos, Edson
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Systematic Zoology
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