Secondary contact between closely related species can lead to the formation of hybrid zones, allowing for interspecific gene flow among taxa. Species replacement can take place if one of the species possesses a competitive advantage over the other, resulting in hybrid zone movement. This displacement may leave a genomic footprint across the landscape in the form of asymmetric introgression of selectively neutral alleles from the displaced to the advancing species. Hybrid zone movement has been suggested for marbled newts in the Iberian Peninsula, supported by the presence of a Triturus marmoratus stronghold surrounded by populations of the supposedly advancing T. pygmaeus in the northwest of the Lisbon Peninsula, i.e., an enclave. Moreover, a newly constructed two-species distribution model suggests that climate conditions following the Last Glacial Maximum may have favoured T. pygmaeus over T. marmoratus along the Atlantic coast. To test for the presence of a T. marmoratus genomic footprint in the area that may have witnessed species displacement, we developed and employed 54 nuclear SNPs and one mitochondrial DNA marker. We found no additional enclaves nor genetic traces of T. marmoratus in T. pygmaeus populations. Therefore, two main hypothesis arise in the absence of a genomic footprint: i) species replacement without hybridisation, either in allopatry or in sympatry under strong reproductive isolation; or ii) displacement with hybridisation where the footprint was eroded due to strong purifying selection. We predict testing for a genomic footprint north of the reported enclave could confirm that species replacement in the marbled newts occurred with hybridisation.
Understanding the impact of historical and demographic processes on genetic variation is essential for devising conservation strategies and predicting responses to climate change. Recolonizations after Pleistocene glaciations and population's positions within species ranges are expected to leave distinct genetic signatures. However, the general applicability of these patterns and relative importance of historical and demographic factors remains unknown. Here, we analysed the distribution of genetic variation in 91 native species of North American plants by coupling microsatellite data and Species Distribution Modelling. We tested the contributions of historical climatic shifts and the central-marginal hypothesis on genetic diversity and structure. Decreased diversity was found with increased distance from potential glacial refugia, coinciding with the expected make-up of postglacially colonised localities. At the range periphery, lower genetic diversity, higher inbreeding levels and genetic differentiation were reported, following the assumptions of the central-marginal hypothesis. History and demography were found to have approximately equal importance in shaping genetic variation.