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Phylogeography of South European mammals

  • Ettore Randi
Chapter

Abstract

Current distributions and the structure of natural biomes in Europe have been largely affected by the Quaternary glaciations, which were prevalent for ca. 80% of the past two milion years. The evolutionary consequences of the Pleistocene climatic changes, the location of refugia in southern Eurasia, and their roles as generators of biodiversity for the entire continent, are still debated. Paleoecological and molecular findings suggested that both Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean Eurasian refuges likely hosted temperate species during the last glaciations. Additionally, the occurrence of cryptic northern refugia was recently postulated. The biogeography, taxonomy and conservation biology of southern European mammals will take advantage of the information stemming from phylogeographic research. In this paper I will draft the main climatic events that determined the paleoecology of southern Europe during the Late Pleistocene, I will review the assumptions and consequences of alternative phylogeo-graphic models, and discuss some case studies of mammalian species.

Keywords

phylogeography southern Europe Pleistocene refugia hedgehogs wood mouse brown bear Mus chamois Italian hare wolves 

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  • Ettore Randi

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