Molecular phylogeny and historical zoogeography of four genera of Eastern Atlantic skates (Rajiformes, Rajidae)

Messinetti, Silvia (2013) Molecular phylogeny and historical zoogeography of four genera of Eastern Atlantic skates (Rajiformes, Rajidae). [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna, Documento ad accesso riservato.
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The aim of this study was to reconstruct a solid phylogeny of four genera of the Rajidae family (Chondrichthyans: Batoidea) using a concatenated alignment of mtDNA genes. Then use the resultant tree to estimate divergence time between taxa based on molecular clock and fossil calibration and conduct biogeographic analysis. The intent was to prove that the actual distribution of species of Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean skates is due to a series of vicariant events. The species considered belongs to two different tribe: Rajini (Raja and Dipturus) and Amblyrajini (Leucoraja and Rajella). The choice of this genera is due to their high presence in the area of interest and to the richness of endemic species. The results show that despite the ancient origin of Rajidae (97 MYA), the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean faunas originated more recently, during Middle Miocene-Late Pliocene, after the closure of connection between these areas and the Indo-Pacific ocean (15 MYA). The endemic species of the Mediterranean (Raja asterias, R. radula, R. polystigma and Leucoraja melitensis) originated after the Messinian salinity crisis (7-5 MYA), when the recolonization of the basin occurred, and are still maintained in allopatric distribution by the presence of biogeographic barriers. Moreover from 4 to 2.6 MYA we can observe the formation of sister species for Raja, Leucoraja and Rajella, one of which has a Northern distribution, and the other has a Southern distribution (R. clavata vs R. straeleni, L. wallacei vs L. naevus, R. fyllae vs R. caudaspinosa and R. kukujevi vs R. leopardus + R. barnardi). The Quaternary and present oceanographic discontinuities that occur along the western African continental shelf (e.g., Cape Blanc and the Angola–Benguela Front) might contribute to the maintenance of low or null levels of gene flow between these closely related siblings species. Also sympatric speciation must be invoked to explain the evolution of skates, for example for the division between R. leopardus and R. barnardi. The speciation processes followed a south-to-north pathways for Dipturus and a north-to-south pathways for Raja, Leucoraja and Rajella underling that the evolution of the genera occurred independently. In the end, it is conceivable that the evolutionary pathways of the tribes followed the costal line during the gondwana fragmentation. The results demonstrate that the evolution of this family is characterized by a series of parallel and independent speciation events, strictly correlated to the tectonic movement of continental masses and paleogeographic and paleoclimatic events and so can be explained by a panbiogeographical (vicariance) model.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Messinetti, Silvia
Relatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
Rajidae, Biogeografia, Est Atlantico, Mediterraneo
Data di discussione della Tesi
12 Dicembre 2013

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