Evolution 2015: Population Divergence in Anolis meridionalis

Anlolis meridionalis. Photo from the Reptile Database

Recently, Kristin Winchell reported on the 2015 Evolution meetings in Guarujá,  Brazil.  Kristin noted: “Fernanda de Pinho Werneck gave a lightning talk titled “Cryptic lineages and diversification of an endemic Anole lizard (Squamata, Dactyloidae) of the Cerrado hotspot” that I am sad to have missed. If anyone did catch it, please let us know in the comments.”

Well, Fernanda herself responded and summarized her talk: “Hi Kristin, really cool summary of the Anole talks! Here is what I presented at the meetings for Norops meridionalis lighting talk: we found five highly divergent lineages, confirmed by multiple phylogenetic and species delimitation methods. These lineages (potential candidate species) diverged in the early-mid Miocene, when most of the geophysical activity of the Cerrado took place. Population-level analysis for the broader distributed lineages showed evidence for non-stationary isolation by distance, when the rate at which genetic differentiation between individuals accumulates with distance depends on space. Finally, niche conservatism, rather than niche divergence, seems to be the main mechanism that promoted the fragmentation of main populations across the Cerrado. Cheers!”

Fernanda also pointed out that the work is the basis of a paper by Carlos Guarnizo et al. that is in revision at Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. We’ll hear more when the paper appears!

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

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