Contrasting phylogeographic pattern among Eudyptes penguins around the Southern Ocean
Since at least the middle-Miocene, the Antarctic Polar Front (APF) and the Subtropical Front (STF) appear to have been the main drivers of diversification of marine biota in the Southern Ocean. However, highly migratory marine birds and mammals challenge this paradigm and the importance of oceanographic barriers. Eudyptes penguins range from the Antarctic Peninsula to subantarctic islands and some of the southernmost subtropical islands. Because of recent diversification, the number of species remains uncertain. Here we analyze two mtDNA (HVRI, COI) and two nuclear (ODC, AK1) markers from 13 locations of five putative Eudyptes species: rockhopper (E. filholi, E. chrysocome, and E. moseleyi), macaroni (E. chrysolophus) and royal penguins (E. schlegeli). Our results show a strong phylogeographic structure among rockhopper penguins from South America, subantarctic and subtropical islands supporting the recognition of three separated species of rockhopper penguins. Although genetic divergence was neither observed among macaroni penguins from the Antarctic Peninsula and sub-Antarctic islands nor between macaroni and royal penguins, population genetic analyses revealed population genetic structure in both cases. We suggest that the APF and STF can act as barriers for these species. While the geographic distance between colonies might play a role, their impact/incidence on gene flow may vary between species and colonies.
Authors: Frugone, M. J., Lowther, A., Noll, D., Ramos, B., Pistorius, P., Dantas, G. P. M., Petry, M. V., Bonadonna, F., Steinfurth, A., Polanowski, A., Raya Rey, A., Lois, N. A., Pütz, K., Trathan, Phil, Wienecke, B., Poulin, E., Vianna, J. A.