Nucleotide variation was assessed from the mitochondrial control region of North American moose (Alces alces) to test predictions of a model of range expansion by stepping-stone dispersal and to determine whether patterns of genetic variation support the current recognition of 4 subspecies. Haplotypes formed a star phylogeny indicative of a recent expansion of populations. Values of nucleotide and haplotype diversity were low continentwide but were greatest in the central part of the continent and lowest in peripheral populations. Despite low mitochondrial diversity, moose exhibited a high degree of differentiation regionally, which was not explained by isolation by distance. Our data indicate a pattern of colonization consistent with a large central population that supplied founders to peripheral populations (other than Alaska), perhaps through rare, long-distance dispersal events (leptokurtic dispersal) rather than mass dispersal by a stepping-stone model. The colonization scenario does not account for the low haplotype diversity observed in Alaska, which may be derived from a postcolonization bottleneck. Establishment of peripheral populations by leptokurtic dispersal and subsequent local adaptation may have been sufficient for development of morphological differentiation among extant subspecies.
|Title||Mitochondrial phylogeography of moose (Alces alces) in North America|
|Authors||Kris J. Hundertmark, R. Terry Bowyer, Gerald F. Shields, Charles C. Schwartz|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Mammalogy|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center|