Freshwater sculpins (Cottus) are common throughout temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Their broad distribution in the Western North America makes them a good model for understanding phylogeographic relationships among western fishes. Within much of the interior west three lineages, C. bairdii, C. confusus, and the C. beldingii complex, are most prevalent. The distribution of these three overlap in the Snake River Basin. All occur below Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. However, only two currently reside in the Upper Snake River above the falls. An exception are the Lost River streams of central Idaho. While these streams are technically part of the Upper Snake River Basin, they do not directly connect with the Snake River. Preliminary studies with a single mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene suggested multiple pathways for Cottus introduction into the Lost River stream complex. Here, three mitochondrial and five nuclear genes were examined to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of these three lineages. Sequences were obtained from 71 different populations in the Lost River streams and surrounding basins. Maximum Likelihood (ML) phylogenies were constructed using these data. Our data indicate that relationships among populations within these species are complex and that no single invasion into the Lost River streams and surrounding regions can account for the phylogenetic signals detected. Instead, it appears that multiple invasions in an evolving landscape played a significant role in the modern distribution of species in this region.



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Life Sciences; Biology



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Cottus, phylogenetic, transcriptome, nuclear markers, mitochondrial markers, phylogeography

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Biology Commons