Our new paper shows how sea-level change can drive genetic diversification of coastal aquatic species, and that this process is more pronounced on tectonically steepened coastlines. This mechanism is broadly applicable, and shows the top-down physical forcing of evolutionary (i.e. population genetic) processes.
Our paper on sea-level driven coastal refugia published in Proceedings of the Royal Society. Here’s a brief, lay summary of our findings.
The last glaciation shaped the genetics of terrestrial species through isolation of populations in ice-free refuges. We demonstrate that glacial-age refuges formed along sub-tropical coasts far from ice, and that these refuges shaped the genetics of coastal marine species too. Continental glaciers remove water from the ocean, lowering sea level and dramatically altering the distribution of coastal habitats. Continental shelves steepen towards their edges, consequently habitats that require shallow slopes, such as estuaries, become rare and isolated during glacially-driven low sea level. These habitats become more widespread and genetically interconnected during interglacials–recapitulating glacial refuge dynamics known from terrestrial species.
Here’s a postprint copy: Dolby et al 2016
A meta-analysis and review of bio-geo data and knowledge across Baja California, the Gulf of California, and the Sonoran Desert. Download full text below courtesy of Journal of the Southwest and Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers