Abstract: Across a species range, multiple sources of environmental heterogeneity, at both small and large scales, create complex landscapes of selection, which may challenge adaptation, particularly when gene flow is high. One key to multidimensional adaptation may reside in the heterogeneity of recombination along the genome. Structural variants, like chromosomal inversions, reduce recombination, increasing linkage disequilibrium among loci at a potentially massive scale. In this study, we examined how chromosomal inversions shape genetic variation across a species range, and ask how their contribution to adaptation in the face of gene flow varies across geographic scales. We sampled the seaweed fly Coelopa frigida along a bioclimatic gradient stretching across 10° of latitude, a salinity gradient and a range of heterogeneous, patchy habitats. We generated a chromosome-level genome assembly to analyse 1,446 low-coverage whole genomes collected along those gradients. We found several large non-recombining genomic regions, including putative inversions. In contrast to the collinear regions, inversions and low recombining regions differentiated populations more strongly, either along an ecogeographic cline or at a fine-grained scale. These genomic regions were associated with environmental factors and adaptive phenotypes, albeit with contrasting patterns. Altogether, our results highlight the importance of recombination in shaping adaptation to environmental heterogeneity at local and large scales.
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