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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

EFFECTS OF PLEISTOCENE CLIMATIC FLUCTUATIONS ON THE PHYLOGEOGRAPHY AND DEMOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE PATENT LEATHER BEETLE ODONTOTAENIUS DISJUNCTUS**

Abstract

Historical processes such as population division due to isolation, long-distance dispersal or range expansion are expected to leave characteristic signals on the distribution and frequency of genetic markers within and between populations. During the Pleistocene epoch, at least six glacial advances affected the physical and biological environments of the Northern Hemisphere. These glaciers and accompanying climatic changes isolated populations through the formation of glacial barriers or by shifting the location of suitable habitats, often resulting in the evolution of new species. Widespread taxa occupying both historically glaciated and unglaciated regions provide an excellent opportunity to study the effects of climatic cycles on population fragmentation and historical demography. The patent leather beetle, Odontotaenius disjunctus, exploits a variety of habitats and ecological niches ranging from the mixed hardwood forests of the Northeastern United States (glaciated regions), to the central plains east of the Mississippi River (unglaciated regions) making it an excellent organism in which to examine phylogeographic patterns and the effects of historical climatic cycles on demographic history. This study examines the phylogenetic patterns and demographic responses to glacial cycles to assess the evolutionary history, species diversity and conservational status of these commonly occurring beetles.

Acknowledgements

UWG Dept. of Biology

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