The USGS issued a press release around our new shrew paper
published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
Here's the link to the release: "Shrews in
the News - Rapid Evolution of Shrews in Response to Climate
"Shrews Rapidly Evolving in Response to Climate Change"
The paper was published in
Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution (MPE) on North American
shrew systematics, biogeography, and diversification.
Hopefully out this year, the on-line version most certainly so.
Hope, AG, KA Speer, JR Demboski, SL Talbot, and JA Cook (in press).
A climate for speciation: rapid spatial diversification within
the Sorex cinereus complex of shrews. Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution.
The gist of the paper is that late Pleistocene glacial and
interglacial cycles were the catalyst for speciation and
diversification events within a group of shrews consisting of about
13 recognized species and probably some cryptic species waiting to
The lead author, Andrew Hope (who I spent quality time with in
Mongolia), followed up on some work I had done in the 90's. Andrew
and Kelly expanded the sampling of species, specimens, and genetic
loci that were examined. This is a much more comprehensive
look at this species complex which appears to have responded
dramatically to climatic and geological cycles over the last
350,000 years, including recolonizing Asia.
Shrews are interesting mammals that belong to the order
Soricomorpha and are found across most of the Northern Hemisphere.
They are among the smallest mammals on the planet and in some
regions, the most abundant and diverse species. They have a farily
simple body plan which makes it difficult to ID them, much less
figure out their evolutionary history. Molecular approaches have
really shed light on these enigmatic beasts.