Approximate Bayesian computation analysis of EST-associated microsatellites indicates that the broadleaved evergreen tree Castanopsis sieboldii survived the Last Glacial Maximum in multiple refugia in Japan.


Department of Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Forest Research and Management Organization, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8687, Japan. [Email]


Climatic changes have played major roles in plants' evolutionary history. Glacial oscillations have been particularly important, but some of their effects on plants' populations are poorly understood, including the numbers and locations of refugia in Asian warm temperate zones. In the present study, we investigated the demographic history of the broadleaved evergreen tree species Castanopsis sieboldii (Fagaceae) during the last glacial period in Japan. We used approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) for model comparison and parameter estimation for the demographic modeling using 27 EST-associated microsatellites. We also performed the species distribution modeling (SDM). The results strongly support a demographic scenario that the Ryukyu Islands and the western parts in the main islands (Kyushu and western Shikoku) were derived from separate refugia and the eastern parts in the main islands and the Japan Sea groups were diverged from the western parts prior to the coldest stage of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Our data indicate that multiple refugia survived at least one in the Ryukyu Islands, and the other three regions of the western and eastern parts and around the Japan Sea of the main islands of Japan during the LGM. The SDM analysis also suggests the potential habitats under LGM climate conditions were mainly located along the Pacific Ocean side of the coastal region. Our ABC-based study helps efforts resolve the demographic history of a dominant species in warm temperate broadleaved forests during and after the last glacial period, which provides a basic model for future phylogeographical studies using this approach.