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The genus Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) in East Africa : phylogeny and the role of rifting and climate in shaping the current pattern of species diversity

Menegon, M. and Loader, S. P. and Marsden, S. J. and Branch, W. R. and Davenport, T. R. B. and Ursenbacher, S.. (2014) The genus Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) in East Africa : phylogeny and the role of rifting and climate in shaping the current pattern of species diversity. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, Vol. 79. pp. 12-22.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6271969

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Abstract

Past climatic and tectonic events are believed to have strongly influenced species diversity in the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot. We investigated the phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of the East African genus Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae), and explored temporal and spatial relationships between Atheris species across Africa, and the impact of palaeoclimatic fluctuations and tectonic movements on cladogenesis of the genus. Using mitochondrial sequence data, the phylogeny of East African species of Atheris shows congruent temporal patterns that link diversification to major tectonic and aridification events within East Africa over the last 15million years (my). Our results are consistent with a scenario of a delayed direct west-east colonisation of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Atheris by the formation of the western rift. Based on the phylogenetic patterns, this terrestrial, forest-associated genus has dispersed into East Africa across a divided route, on both west-southeasterly and west-northeasterly directions (a C-shaped route). Cladogenesis in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Southern Highlands of Tanzania corresponds to late Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene climatic shifts. Taxonomically, our data confirmed the monophyly of Atheris as currently defined, and reveal four major East African clades, three of which occur in discrete mountain ranges. Possible cryptic taxa are identified in the Atheris rungweensis and A. ceratophora clades.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Biogeographie (Nagel)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Natur- Landschafts- und Umweltschutz > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Loader, Simon Paul and Ursenbacher, Sylvain
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1055-7903
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:06 Feb 2015 09:58
Deposited On:18 Jul 2014 09:10

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