Given that East Asia is located south-west of Beringia and was less glaciated during the Pleistocene, species at higher latitudes were able to expand their range in this region during climate cooling. Although southward migration is an inevitable colonization process, the biogeographical history of the disjunct ranges of higher-latitude species in East Asia has been investigated less extensively. Here, we assess whether their disjunct distributions in the Japanese archipelago connected sufficiently with Beringia or persisted in isolation following their establishment. Sequences of nine nuclear loci were determined for Cassiope lycopodioides (Ericaceae) from the Japanese archipelago as well as its surrounding areas, Kamchatka and Alaska. According to the geographical pattern of genetic diversity, the northern populations from Kamchatka to the northern part of the Japanese archipelago were similar genetically and were differentiated from populations in central Japan. Our study suggested that the distribution of C. lycopodioides was connected between the northern part of the Japanese archipelago and south-western Beringia due to Pleistocene climate cooling. Conversely, central Japan harboured a disjunct range after its establishment. These inferences suggest that widespread range expansion in northern East Asia was plausible for species distributed in Beringia.
- Disjunct distribution
- IM model
- Multiple loci
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics