Historical and recent processes shaping the geographic range of a rocky intertidal gastropod: phylogeography, ecology, and habitat availability
Wiley -- Ecology and Evolution
DOI 10.1002/ece3.1181
Keyword(s)
  1. Baja California
  2. geographic range
  3. habitat availability
  4. historical ecology
  5. Mexacanthina lugubris lugubris
  6. museum collections
  7. phylogeography
  8. range limits
Abstract(s)

Factors shaping the geographic range of a species can be identified when phylogeographic patterns are combined with data on contemporary and historical geographic distribution, range-wide abundance, habitat/food availability, and through comparisons with codistributed taxa. Here, we evaluate range dynamism and phylogeography of the rocky intertidal gastropod Mexacanthina lugubris lugubris across its geographic range – the Pacific coast of the Baja peninsula and southern California. We sequenced mitochondrial DNA (CO1) from ten populations and compliment these data with museum records, habitat availability and range-wide field surveys of the distribution and abundance of M. l. lugubris and its primary prey (the barnacle Chthamalus fissus). The geographic range of M. l. lugubris can be characterized by three different events in its history: an old sundering in the mid-peninsular region of Baja (∼ 417,000 years ago) and more recent northern range expansion and southern range contraction. The mid-peninsular break is shared with many terrestrial and marine species, although M. l. lugubris represents the first mollusc to show it. This common break is often attributed to a hypothesized ancient seaway bisecting the peninsula, but for M. l. lugubris it may result from large habitat gaps in the southern clade. Northern clade populations, particularly near the historical northern limit (prior to the 1970s), have high local abundances and reside in a region with plentiful food and habitat – which makes its northern range conducive to expansion. The observed southern range contraction may result from the opposite scenario, with little food or habitat nearby. Our study highlights the importance of taking an integrative approach to understanding the processes that shape the geographic range of a species via combining range-wide phylogeography data with temporal geographic distributions and spatial patterns of habitat/food availability.