PHYLOGEOGRAPHY OF BLACK BEARS (Ursus americanus) OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST|
Dr. Joseph Anthony Cook
Phylogeographic study across co-distributed taxa provides temporal and spatial perspectives on the assemblage of communities. A repeated pattern of intraspecific diversification within several taxa of the Pacific Northwest has been documented, and we contribute additional information to this growing dataset. We analyzed variation in two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b and control region) for the black bear (Ursus americanus) and expand previous analyses of phylogeographic variation. Two lineages (coastal and continental) exist; the coastal lineage extends along the Pacific Coast from the Takhin River north of Glacier Bay National Park, Southeast Alaska to northern California, whereas, the continental lineage is more widespread occurring from central Alaska to the East Coast. Both lineages occur along the coast of Southeast Alaska where inter-lineage divergence ranged from 3.1-3.6% (uncorrected p). Multiple lineages of other species also have been identified from Southeast Alaska indicating a complex history for the assembly of biotic communities along the North Pacific Coast. The overlapping distribution of black bear lineages with those of other birds and mammals suggests that lineages may tend to move together as opposed to colonizing independently.