© 2015 Newman, Austin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The dynamic geologic history of the southeastern United States has played a major role in shaping the geographic distributions of amphibians in the region. In the phylogeographic literature, the predominant pattern of distribution shifts through time of temperate species is one of contraction during glacial maxima and persistence in refugia. However, the diverse biology and ecology of amphibian species suggest that a "one-size-fits-all" model may be inappropriate. Nearly 10% of amphibian species in the region have a current distribution comprised of multiple disjunct, restricted areas that resemble the shape of Pleistocene refugia identified for other temperate taxa in the literature. Here, we apply genetics and spatially explicit climate analyses to test the hypothesis that the disjunct regions of these species ranges are climatic refugia for species that were more broadly distributed during glacial maxima. We use the salamander Plethodon serratus as a model, as its range consists of four disjunct regions in the Southeast. Phylogenetic results show that P. serratus is comprised of multiple genetic lineages, and the four regions are not reciprocally monophyletic. The Appalachian salamanders form a clade sister to all other P. serratus. Niche and paleodistribution modeling results suggest that P. serratus expanded from the Appalachians during the cooler Last Glacial Maximum and has since been restricted to its current disjunct distribution by a warming climate. These data reject the universal applicability of the glacial contraction model to temperate taxa and reiterate the importance of considering the natural history of individual species.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Newman, C., & Austin, C. (2015). Thriving in the cold: Glacial expansion and post-glacial contraction of a temperate terrestrial salamander (Plethodon serratus). PLoS ONE, 10 (7) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130131