Phylogeographic structure and deep lineage diversification of the red alga Chondrus ocellatus Holmes in the Northwest Pacific.Mol Ecol. 2015 Oct; 24(19):5020-33.ME
A major goal of phylogeographic analysis using molecular markers is to understand the ecological and historical variables that influence genetic diversity within a species. Here, we used sequences of the mitochondrial Cox1 gene and nuclear internal transcribed spacer to reconstruct its phylogeography and demographic history of the intertidal red seaweed Chondrus ocellatus over most of its geographical range in the Northwest Pacific. We found three deeply separated lineages A, B and C, which diverged from one another in the early Pliocene-late Miocene (c. 4.5-7.7 Ma). The remarkably deep divergences, both within and between lineages, appear to have resulted from ancient isolations, accelerated by random drift and limited genetic exchange between regions. The disjunct distributions of lineages A and C along the coasts of Japan may reflect divergence during isolation in scattered refugia. The distribution of lineage B, from the South China Sea to the Korean Peninsula, appears to reflect postglacial recolonizations of coastal habitats. These three lineages do not coincide with the three documented morphological formae in C. ocellatus, suggesting that additional cryptic species may exist in this taxon. Our study illustrates the interaction of environmental variability and demographic processes in producing lineage diversification in an intertidal seaweed and highlights the importance of phylogeographic approaches for discovering cryptic marine biodiversity.