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New results highlight the Levant region as an important center of speciation

New results highlight the Levant region as an important center of speciation

The study shows the occurrence of high levels of undescribed diversity within the genus. Ref. Art.: Tamar K, Carranza S, et al (2015). Hidden rela- tionships and genetic diversity: Molecular phylo- geny and phylogeography of the Levantine lizards of the genus Phoenicolacerta. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 

22.09.2015

 

The Levant region witnessed dramatic tectonic events and climatic fluctuations that changed the historical landscape of the area and consequently influenced the cladogenesis and distribution of the local biota. In this study, researchers at the IBE leaded by Salvador Carranza and in collaboration with Shai Meiri from Tel Aviv University, have used a multilocus phylogenetic approach and species delimitation methods in order to obtain the first robust time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of the Levantine rock lizards of the genus Phoenicolacerta.

They suggest that Phoenicolacerta started radiating during the mid-late Miocene, and that both vicariance and dispersal events shaped the diversification and distribution of the genus concomitantly with the formation of major geological structures and climatic fluctuations in the Levant.

These results highlight the region as an important center of speciation, contributing to the species diversity of the eastern Mediterranean. Their results also show several instances of paraphyly and the occurrence of high levels of undescribed diversity within the genus Phoenicolacerta.

Reference Article:Tamar K, Carranza S, In den Bosch H, Sindaco R, Moravec J, Meiri S (2015). Hidden relationships and genetic diversity: Molecular phylogeny and phylogeography of the Levantine lizards of the genus Phoenicolacerta (Squamata: Lacertidae). Mol Phylogenet Evol.

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