A new paper has been released in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society on the origin of an endangered woody savanna species (Noronhia lowryi, or the Malagasy savanna olive) that presently occurs in the Central Plateau of Madagascar. We documented the recent demography of the species with microsatellite data, and inferred its origin with a fossil-calibrated phylogeny based on a maternally inherited genome. While we revealed a recent bottleneck signature (ca. 350 generations ago), certainly reflecting an environmental shift during the Late Miocene or the Holocene, the age of maternal lineages suggests a very ancient settlement of the species, likely co-occurring with the global savanna expansion at the Late Miocene. Besides, our study also highlights the unique value and vulnerability of the Malagasy savannas, which urgently deserve conservation programs.
You can find the published version here: