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Receding ice drove parallel expansions in Southern Ocean penguins


Cole, TL and Dutoit, L and Dussex, N and Hart, T and Alexander, A and Younger, JL and Clucas, GV and Frugone, MJ and Cherel, Y and Cuthbert, R and Ellenberg, U and Fiddaman, SR and Hiscock, J and Houston, D and Jouventin, P and Mattern, T and Miller, G and Miskelly, C and Nolan, P and Polito, MJ and Quillfeldt, P and Ryan, PG and Smith, A and Tennyson, AJD and Thompson, D and Wienecke, B and Vianna, JA and Waters, JM, Receding ice drove parallel expansions in Southern Ocean penguins, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, (52) pp. 26690-26696. ISSN 1091-6490 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright (2019) The Authors, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1904048116


Climate shifts are key drivers of ecosystem change. Despite the critical importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for global climate, the extent of climate-driven ecological change in this region remains controversial. In particular, the biological effects of changing sea ice conditions are poorly understood. We hypothesize that rapid postglacial reductions in sea ice drove biological shifts across multiple widespread Southern Ocean species. We test for demographic shifts driven by climate events over recent millennia by analyzing population genomic datasets spanning 3 penguin genera (Eudyptes, Pygoscelis, and Aptenodytes). Demographic analyses for multiple species (macaroni/royal, eastern rockhopper, Adélie, gentoo, king, and emperor) currently inhabiting southern coastlines affected by heavy sea ice conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) yielded genetic signatures of near-simultaneous population expansions associated with postglacial warming. Populations of the ice-adapted emperor penguin are inferred to have expanded slightly earlier than those of species requiring ice-free terrain. These concerted high-latitude expansion events contrast with relatively stable or declining demographic histories inferred for 4 penguin species (northern rockhopper, western rockhopper, Fiordland crested, and Snares crested) that apparently persisted throughout the LGM in ice-free habitats. Limited genetic structure detected in all ice-affected species across the vast Southern Ocean may reflect both rapid postglacial colonization of subantarctic and Antarctic shores, in addition to recent genetic exchange among populations. Together, these analyses highlight dramatic, ecosystem-wide responses to past Southern Ocean climate change and suggest potential for further shifts as warming continues.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:genomics, Sphenisciformes, last glacial maximum, refugia, climate change
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Vertebrate biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Younger, JL (Dr Jane Younger)
ID Code:153684
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-10-01
Last Modified:2022-11-25

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