Genetic isolation and evolutionary history of oases populations of the Baja California killifish, Fundulus lima
The Baja California killifish, Fundulus lima, is found in six desert oases of the southern Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. The recent introduction of exotic fishes, particularly redbelly tilapia, have impacted the ecology of Fundulus lima such that it is now endangered. Plans of relocating F. lima to bodies of freshwater that are free of exotics have been proposed, however little is know about the genetic identity of the current populations. In this study, we examined the mitochondrial control region of F. lima samples from 4 oases, and in addition, compared these samples to their sister species, the California killifish F.␣parvipinnis. Using a combination of phylogenetic and coalescent approaches, we were able to determine that the two subspecies of the California killifish, F. p.␣brevis, and F. p. parvipinnis, and F. lima form an unresolved trichotomy that diverged between 200,000 years and 400,000 years ago. The one F. lima individual that we were able to collect in the southernmost oasis grouped with the southern subspecies of the California killifish, F. parvipinnis brevis. In contrast, we found that the 3 northern oases grouped together in a “Fundulus lima” clade. Each oasis is genetically distinct, yet there is no evidence of a␣marked genetic bottleneck in any populations (Haplotype diversity between 0.5 and 0.8). Future relocation plans will therefore need to be done cautiously to preserve the genetic identity of the original populations.
KeywordsFundulus lima Fundulus parvipinnis Baja California Desert fishes Control region
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