Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Weathering the Ice Age

Where did species survive the cold cycles of the current Ice Age?

Ben Wielstra

Part of Ben Wielstra’s interest in biogeography concerns how distributions have changed through time in response to climate change. The current (Quaternary) ice age is characterized by warm and cold cycles. We are presently experiencing a warm interval. Such warm intervals are regularly alternated by relatively long cold spells. The Wielstra lab infers the impact of the ice age climate fluctuations on the geographic distribution and genetic structuring of newt species.


  • Wielstra, B., Zieliński, P., Babik, W. (2017) The Carpathians hosted extra-Mediterranean refugia-within-refugia during the Pleistocene Ice Age: genomic evidence from two newt genera. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 122(3): 605–613.
  • Wielstra, B., Babik, W., Arntzen, J.W. (2015). The crested newt Triturus cristatus recolonized temperate Eurasia from an extra-Mediterranean glacial refugium. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 114(3): 574–587.
  • Toxopeus, A.G., Tzankov, N., Vukov, T., Arntzen, J.W. (2013). Tracing glacial refugia of Triturus newts based on mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and species distribution modeling. Frontiers in Zoology 10: 13.
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