The study of sister species that occur in parapatry around biogeographic transition zones can help understand the evolutionary processes that underlie the changes in species composition across biogeographic transition zones. The South Eastern Pacific (SEP) coast is a highly productive coastal system that exhibits a broad biogeographic transition zone around 30–35°S. Here, we present a comparative genome-wide analysis of the sister species Scurria viridula and Scurria zebrina, that occur in parapatry and whose poleward and equatorward range edges intersect in the 30–35°S SEP biogeographic transition zone. We sampled 118 specimens sourced from nine sites from Tocopilla (22°S) to Chiloé (41°S) including one site where both species overlap and analyzed over 8000 biallelic single nucleotide polymorphisms. We found evidence of hybridization between these species in the contact zone and found significant but contrasting population structures for both species. Our results indicate that the genetic structure in S. viridula, which is currently expanding its range poleward, follows a simple isolation by distance model with no traces of natural selection (no evidence of outlier loci). In contrast, S. zebrina, which has its equatorward range edge at the transition zone, displayed a pronounced genetic break approximately at 32–34°S, along a region of marked environmental heterogeneity in association with a semi-permanent coastal upwelling regime. For S. zebrina we also found 43 outlier loci associated with this genetic break, with a significant proportion of them clustering in a single linkage group. This marked difference in the presence of outlier loci between species suggests that they could be responding differently to local environmental challenges found at their overlapping geographic range edges, thus providing important new insights about genomic changes around biogeographic transition zones in sister species and the forces that shape genetic diversity in intertidal marine species.
- South Eastern Pacific
- population genomics