Discordant pleistocene population size histories in a guild of hymenopteran parasitoids

William Walton, Graham N Stone, Konrad Lohse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Signatures of past changes in population size have been detected in genome-wide variation in many species. However, the causes of such demographic changes and the extent to which they are shared across co-distributed species remain poorly understood. During Pleistocene glacial maxima, many temperate European species were confined to southern refugia. While vicariance and range expansion processes associated with glacial cycles have been widely documented, it is unclear whether refugial populations of co-distributed species have experienced shared histories of population size change. We analyse whole genome sequence data to reconstruct and compare demographic histories during the Quaternary for Iberian refuge populations in a single ecological guild (seven species of chalcid parasitoid wasps associated with oak cynipid galls). For four of these species, we find support for large changes in effective population size (Ne) through the Pleistocene that coincide with major climate events. However, there is little evidence that the timing, direction and magnitude of demographic change are shared across species, suggesting that demographic histories in this guild are largely idiosyncratic, even at the scale of a single glacial refugium.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021


  • Ne change
  • comparative phylogeography
  • glacial refugia
  • population genomics
  • chalcid parasitoids


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