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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

Too much of a good thing: sea ice extent may have forced emperor penguins into refugia during the last glacial maximum
Too much of a good thing: sea ice extent may have forced emperor penguins into refugia during the last glacial maximum
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 Adélie 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.
Antarctica, Aptenodytes forsteri, climate change ecology, molecular ecology, paleoecology, phylogeography, polynya, Ross Sea
1354-1013
2215-2226
Younger, Jane L.
deea6329-2600-4dfa-a47e-8ac1dd2010e1
Clucas, Gemma V.
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Kooyman, Gerald
2a780f85-8b2f-41b9-9a5b-979d9d6df50a
Wienecke, Barbara
a96d8eff-59c4-4b77-8263-b7fbb86a27d1
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Trathan, Philip N.
3587e466-2f93-41fd-818b-3e189fb040c2
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206
Miller, Karen J.
1373f20a-8197-4354-9dd0-ccbcd8e0744d
Younger, Jane L.
deea6329-2600-4dfa-a47e-8ac1dd2010e1
Clucas, Gemma V.
01c99eb2-5dbb-4f55-847c-1283065b40e1
Kooyman, Gerald
2a780f85-8b2f-41b9-9a5b-979d9d6df50a
Wienecke, Barbara
a96d8eff-59c4-4b77-8263-b7fbb86a27d1
Rogers, Alex D.
fb474198-f059-48f7-b637-74617b5023f6
Trathan, Philip N.
3587e466-2f93-41fd-818b-3e189fb040c2
Hart, Tom
de3eadf1-5833-4bdd-ba26-c608ed0eb206
Miller, Karen J.
1373f20a-8197-4354-9dd0-ccbcd8e0744d

Younger, Jane L., Clucas, Gemma V., Kooyman, Gerald, Wienecke, Barbara, Rogers, Alex D., Trathan, Philip N., Hart, Tom and Miller, Karen J. (2015) Too much of a good thing: sea ice extent may have forced emperor penguins into refugia during the last glacial maximum. Global Change Biology, 21 (6), 2215-2226. (doi:10.1111/gcb.12882).

Record type: Article

Abstract

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 Adélie 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.

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More information

Published date: 2015
Keywords: Antarctica, Aptenodytes forsteri, climate change ecology, molecular ecology, paleoecology, phylogeography, polynya, Ross Sea
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377720
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377720
ISSN: 1354-1013
PURE UUID: 9c594994-4617-43bd-9112-5cdc46d57786
ORCID for Gemma V. Clucas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4305-1719

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Jun 2015 13:48
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 12:20

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Contributors

Author: Jane L. Younger
Author: Gemma V. Clucas ORCID iD
Author: Gerald Kooyman
Author: Barbara Wienecke
Author: Alex D. Rogers
Author: Philip N. Trathan
Author: Tom Hart
Author: Karen J. Miller

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