Biology ETDs


Brooks Kohli

Publication Date



The influence of Quaternary environmental changes on demography and geographic distribution is paramount to understanding how contemporary genetic diversity is partitioned in high-latitude species. This history of change in northern ecosystems sets the stage for forecasting how species inhabiting tundra and boreal forest will respond to the ongoing shift in climate. Utilizing broad geographic and taxonomic sampling, a multilocus species tree approach, ecological niche models, and population genetic techniques, I investigate the evolutionary and biogeographic history of a Holarctic mammal, the northern red-backed vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) and the systematics of the tribe it belongs to, Clethrionomyini. This tribe of forest and alpine voles is distributed throughout the Holarctic and diversified in the Northern Hemisphere over the last 5 MY. The biogeographic history of C. rutilus is characterized by subdivision and subsequent expansion from multiple refugia, including previously unidentified refugia in central Asia. Several taxonomic issues are resolved by the use of multilocus data, including support of a polyphyletic Clethrionomys, prompting the suggestion of splitting the genus into two. Diversification in the tribe is not characterized by pulses of diversification, as previously suggested. The dynamic geographic, genealogic, and demographic history of C. rutilus and Clethrionomyini provides insight into the Quaternary biogeography of the northern high-latitudes in Asia and North America.




Red-backed vole, Holarctic, Quaternary, phylogeography, Clethrionomys rutilus, refugia, species tree

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Advisor

Cook, Joseph

First Committee Member (Chair)

Poe, Steven

Second Committee Member

Witt, Christopher