Inferring demographic history and speciation of grouse using whole genome sequences

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: From an ecological perspective, knowledge of demographic history is highly valuable because population size fluctuations can be matched to known climatic events, thereby revealing great insight into a species’ reaction to past climate change. This in turn enables us to predict how they might respond to future climate scenarios. Prominently, with the advent of high-throughput sequencing it is now becoming possible to assemble genomes of non-model organisms thereby providing unprecedented resolution to the study of demographic history and speciation. This thesis utilises four species of grouse (Aves, subfamily Tetraoninae) in order to explore the demographic history and speciation within this lineage; the willow grouse, red grouse, rock ptarmigan and the black grouse. I, and my co-authors, begin by reviewing the plethora of methods used to estimate contemporary effective population size (Ne) and demographic history that are available to animal conservation practitioners. We find that their underlying assumptions and necessary input data can bias in their application, and thus we provide a summary of their applicability.I then use the whole genomes of the black grouse, willow grouse and rock ptarmigan to infer their population dynamics within the last million years. I find three dominant periods that shape their demographic history: early Pleistocene cooling (3-0.9 Mya), the mid-Brunhes event (430 kya) and the last glacial period (110-10 kya). I also find strong signals of local population history – recolonization and subdivision events – affecting their demography. In the subsequent study, I explore the grouse dynamics within the last glacial period in more detail by including more distant samples and using ecological modelling to track habitat distribution changes. I further uncover strong signals of local population history, with multiple fringe populations undergoing severe bottlenecks. I also determine that future climate change is expected to drastically constrict the distribution of the studied grouse.Lastly, I use whole genome sequencing to uncover 6 highly differentiated regions, containing 7 genes, hinting at their role in adaptation and speciation in three grouse taxa. I also locate a region of low differentiation, containing the Agouti pigmentation gene, indicating its role in the grouse plumage coloration.