Conservation Genetics

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 665–677 | Cite as

Evolutionary history and population genetics of a cyprinid fish (Iberochondrostoma olisiponensis) endangered by introgression from a more abundant relative

  • Carla Sousa-SantosEmail author
  • H. F. Gante
  • J. Robalo
  • P. Proença Cunha
  • A. Martins
  • M. Arruda
  • M. J. Alves
  • V. Almada
Research Article


The use of molecular techniques has shown that hybridization and introgression have significant impacts in evolution, by means of transfer of genetic variation and formation of hybrid species. In this paper we use mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data to investigate the evolutionary history, levels of genetic diversity and population differentiation of a rare and endangered fish species. Our results suggest that a hybrid origin scenario of Chondrostoma olisiponensis is a likely explanation for the shared genetic and morphological traits with Iberochondrostoma and Achondrostoma + Pseudochondrostoma. The basal positioning of C. olisiponensis alleles in all loci analyzed indicates that hybridization events occurred before differentiation within each of these groups, most likely during Middle–Late Miocene. Originally described as C. olisiponensis, we suggest that this species should be placed in the genus Iberochondrostoma to avoid confusion with ‘real’ central European Chondrostoma and to (partially) reflect its evolutionary history. Analyses of levels of genetic diversity and patterns of population subdivision show that populations of the rare Iberochondrostoma olisiponensis are differentiated (high and significant φST and F ST) and genetically depauperate (very low S, π, and θ). I. olisiponensis is simultaneously imperiled by small population sizes and contemporary bidirectional hybridization with another critically endangered sympatric species (Iberochondrostoma lusitanicum). Urgent ex-situ conservation measures involving supportive breeding of I. olisiponensis are needed to preserve present genetic variation and eventually increase in situ population sizes, along with further studies focused on different life history and behavioral characteristics of this highly endangered species.


Intergeneric hybridization Introgression Hybrid speciation Cyprinidae Parental species displacement Mito-nuclear discordance 



Professor Vítor Almada passed away during the manuscript revision process of this paper. He was the coordinator of the UIEE-ISPA and he devoted much of his work to the preservation of native freshwater fish species in Portugal. CS-S and JR will be forever grateful for his guidance. We thank Ignacio Doadrio (MNCN-CSIC, Madrid, Spain) and Jöerg Freyhof (IGB, Berlin, Germany) for providing samples for genetic analyses. We also thank G. Lemos, C. Lima, P. Coelho and F. Ronenberg for their help during sampling, and M. Drago for help in the lab. The AFN and ICNB Portuguese agencies provided the necessary permits for fielwork. This study was financed by the European Fund for Economic and Regional Development (FEDER) through the Program Operational Factors of Competitiveness (COMPETE) and National Funds through the FCT—Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology, under the Pluriannual Program UI&D 331/94 and 329/2011, and the projects PTDC/AAC-CLI/103110/2008 and PTDC/BIA-BDE/66519/2006. C. Sousa-Santos was supported by a Post-doctoral grant from FCT (SFRH/BPD/29774/2006).

Supplementary material

10592_2014_568_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Online Resource 1 (DOCX 57 kb)
10592_2014_568_MOESM2_ESM.eps (798 kb)
Online Resource 2 Phylogenetic trees based on cyt b (a), β-actin (b) and S7 (c) gene sequences. Majority rule consensus trees are plotted and bootstrap values and posterior probabilities (higher than 50 and 0.5, respectively) are depicted for all the methods applied (above the line MP/NJ/ME, below the line ML/Bayesian) (EPS 797 kb)
10592_2014_568_MOESM3_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Online Resource 3 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Sousa-Santos
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. F. Gante
    • 2
  • J. Robalo
    • 1
  • P. Proença Cunha
    • 3
  • A. Martins
    • 4
  • M. Arruda
    • 5
  • M. J. Alves
    • 6
  • V. Almada
    • 1
  1. 1.Unidade de Investigação em Eco-EtologiaISPA - Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da VidaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Zoological InstituteUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Earth Sciences, IMAR-Marine and Environmental Research CentreUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Departamento de Geociências, Centro de GeofísicaUniversity of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal
  5. 5.Instituto Polivalente Edik Ramon - Ensino ParticularLuanda-SulAngola
  6. 6.Museu Nacional de História Natural e da CiênciaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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