Publication details

Anuran phylogeographic patterns in Congo Basin rainforests



Year of publication 2023
Type Conference abstract
Description While the amphibian fauna of West Africa and the Lower Guinean rainforests is comparatively well studied, the central Congo Basin and particularly the area south of the Congo River (Central Congolian Lowland Forests, CCLF) remains a “black box”. Its difficult accessibility and socio-political instability have, with a few exceptions, hampered fieldwork in recent years. As a result, the known biodiversity in this area is low, which is expectedly due to low sampling intensity rather than reflecting biological reality. We performed DNA barcoding (16S rRNA) of frogs from different ecological niches (terrestrial, semiaquatic to aquatic, and scansorial) and supplemented our data with sequences obtained from GenBank to investigate intraspecific variation and phylogeographic patterns. We screened 24 species having their major distribution in the CCLF and/or the Congo Basin. Lineages were determined both by the use of species delimitation algorithms (ASAP, bPTP) and manual classification according to phylogenetic trees created with iqtree2. We introduce a selection of interesting focal taxa and present preliminary results showing endemic haplotype variants in the CCLF. We discuss the historical biogeography of Central Africa in general and the Congo Basin in particular, with the Congo River potentially serving as a biogeographic barrier for some species.
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