Comparative phylogeography in a specific and obligate pollination antagonism.

  • publication
  • 05-01-2012

Espíndola A, Alvarez N. PLoS ONE 2011 ;6(12):e28662. 10.1371/journal.pone.0028662. PONE-D-11-15574. PMC3246438.

In specific and obligate interactions the nature and abundance of a given species can have important effects on the survival and population dynamics of associated organisms. In a phylogeographic framework, we therefore expect that the fates of organisms interacting specifically are also tightly interrelated. Here we investigate such a scenario by analyzing the genetic structures of species interacting in an obligate plant-insect pollination lure-and-trap antagonism, involving Arum maculatum (Araceae) and its specific psychodid (Diptera) visitors Psychoda phalaenoides and Psycha grisescens. Because the interaction is asymmetric (i.e., only the plant depends on the insect), we expect the genetic structure of the plant to be related with the historical pollinator availability, yielding incongruent phylogeographic patterns between the interacting organisms.Using insect mtDNA sequences and plant AFLP genome fingerprinting, we inferred the large-scale phylogeographies of each species and the distribution of genetic diversities throughout the sampled range, and evaluated the congruence in their respective genetic structures using hierarchical analyses of molecular variances (AMOVA). Because the composition of pollinator species varies in Europe, we also examined its association with the spatial genetic structure of the plant.Our findings indicate that while the plant presents a spatially well-defined genetic structure, this is not the case in the insects. Patterns of genetic diversities also show dissimilar distributions among the three interacting species. Phylogeographic histories of the plant and its pollinating insects are thus not congruent, a result that would indicate that plant and insect lineages do not share the same glacial and postglacial histories. However, the genetic structure of the plant can, at least partially, be explained by the type of pollinators available at a regional scale. Differences in life-history traits of available pollinators might therefore have influenced the genetic structure of the plant, the dependent organism, in this antagonistic interaction.

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