The terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene, a period from 15 000 to 18 000 Before Present (BP), was critical in establishing the current Holarctic fauna, with temperate-climate species largely replacing cold-adapted ones at mid-latitudes. However, the timing and nature of this process remain unclear for many taxa, a point that impacts on current and future management strategies. Here, we use an ancient DNA dataset to test more directly postglacial histories of the water vole (Arvicola amphibius, formerly A. terrestris), a species that is both a conservation priority and a pest in different parts of its range. We specifically examine colonization of Britain, where a complex genetic structure can be observed today. Although we focus on population history at the limits of the species' range, the inclusion of additional European samples allows insights into European postglacial colonization events and provides a molecular perspective on water vole taxonomy.
- Received January 20, 2016.
- Accepted April 6, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.