Phylogeographic, nested clade, and mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation were used to infer the temporal dynamics of distributional and demographic history of brown trout (Salmo trutta). Both new and previously published data were analyzed for 1794 trout from 174 populations. This combined analysis improved our knowledge of the complex evolutionary history of brown trout throughout its native Eurasian and North African range of distribution in many ways. It confirmed the existence of five major evolutionary lineages that evolved in geographic isolation during the Pleistocene and have remained largely allopatric since then. These should be recognized as the basic evolutionarily significant units within brown trout. Finer phylogeographic structuring was also resolved within major lineages. Contrasting temporal juxtaposition of different evolutionary factors and timing of major demographic expansions were observed among lineages. These unique evolutionary histories have been shaped both by the differential latitudinal impact of glaciations on habitat loss and potential for dispersal, as well as climatic impacts and landscape heterogeneity that translated in a longitudinal pattern of genetic diversity and population structuring at more southern latitudes. This study also provided evidence for the role of biological factors in addition to that of physical isolation in limiting introgressive hybridization among major trout lineages.
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Vol. 55 • No. 2