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A Phylogenetic Perspective on the Evolution of Mediterranean Teleost Fishes
Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Author: Christine N. Meynard et al.

by Christine N. Meynard, David Mouillot, Nicolas Mouquet, Emmanuel J. P. Douzery

The Mediterranean Sea is a highly diverse, highly studied, and highly impacted biogeographic region, yet no phylogenetic reconstruction of fish diversity in this area has been published to date. Here, we infer the timing and geographic origins of Mediterranean teleost species diversity using nucleotide sequences collected from GenBank. We assembled a DNA supermatrix composed of four mitochondrial genes (12S ribosomal DNA, 16S ribosomal DNA, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and cytochrome b) and two nuclear genes (rhodopsin and recombination activating gene I), including 62% of Mediterranean teleost species plus 9 outgroups. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic and dating analyses were calibrated using 20 fossil constraints. An additional 124 species were grafted onto the chronogram according to their taxonomic affinity, checking for the effects of taxonomic coverage in subsequent diversification analyses. We then interpreted the time-line of teleost diversification in light of Mediterranean historical biogeography, distinguishing non-endemic natives, endemics and exotic species. Results show that the major Mediterranean orders are of Cretaceous origin, specifically ~100–80 Mya, and most Perciformes families originated 80–50 Mya. Two important clade origin events were detected. The first at 100–80 Mya, affected native and exotic species, and reflects a global diversification period at a time when the Mediterranean Sea did not yet exist. The second occurred during the last 50 Mya, and is noticeable among endemic and native species, but not among exotic species. This period corresponds to isolation of the Mediterranean from Indo-Pacific waters before the Messinian salinity crisis. The Mediterranean fish fauna illustrates well the assembly of regional faunas through origination and immigration, where dispersal and isolation have shaped the emergence of a biodiversity hotspot.