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Phylogenetic relationships of woodcreepers (Aves: Dendrocolaptinae) - incongruence between molecular and morphological data
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Vertebrate Department, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen.
Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Swedish Museum of Natural History.
2004 (English)In: Journal of Avian Biology, ISSN 1600-048X, Vol. 35, no 3, 280-288 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The woodcreepers is a highly specialized lineage within the New World suboscine radiation. Most systematic studies of higher level relationships of this group rely on morphological characters, and few studies utilizing molecular data exist. In this paper, we present a molecular phylogeny of the major lineages of woodcreepers (Aves: Dendrocolaptinae), based on nucleotide sequence data from a nuclear non-coding gene region (myoglobin intron II) and a protein-coding mitochondrial gene (cytochrome b). A good topological agreement between the individual gene trees suggests that the resulting phylogeny reflects the true evolutionary history of woodcreepers well. However, the DNA-based phylogeny conflicts with the results of a parsimony analysis of morphological characters. The topological differences mainly concern the basal branches of the trees. The morphological data places the genus Drymornis in a basal position (mainly supported by characters in the hindlimb), while our data suggests it to be derived among woodcreepers. Unlike most other woodcreepers, Drymornis is ground-adapted, as are the ovenbirds. The observed morphological similarities between Drymornis and the ovenbird outgroup may thus be explained with convergence or with reversal to an ancestral state. This observation raises the question of the use of characters associated with locomotion and feeding in phylogenetic reconstruction based on parsimony.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell , 2004. Vol. 35, no 3, 280-288 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23264DOI: 10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03234.xOAI: diva2:190975
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-209Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25 Last updated: 2010-01-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Molecular systematics of the antbird-ovenbird complex (Aves: Furnariida)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Molecular systematics of the antbird-ovenbird complex (Aves: Furnariida)
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the phylogenetic relationships among suboscine birds with special emphasis on the antbird-ovenbird complex (Aves: Furnariida). The principal aim is to produce a framework for future systematic and comparative studies of suboscines by generating robust phylogenetic hypotheses from DNA-sequence data. Several gene regions, mostly from the nuclear genome, are used in order to get genetically independent estimates of phylogenetic relationships. The study is pioneering in the extensive use of nuclear DNA sequences to resolve passerine relationships.

The phylogenetic hypotheses are overall well supported by high nodal support values, and there is an overall good phylogenetic agreement between the different gene regions used. Several existing hypotheses about deeper relationships among New World suboscines based on morphology and DNA-DNA hybridisations are corroborated. In addition, novel hypotheses of relationships within the antbird-ovenbird complex are generated, e.g., a non-monophyletic origin of the ground antbirds, a basal position of the genus Sclerurus in relation to woodcreepers and core-ovenbirds, and a basal position of the genera Terenura, Myrmornis, Pygiptila and Thamnistes in relation to other typical antbirds.

Based on the results the current knowledge of systematic relationships among suboscines in general, and within the antbird-ovenbird complex in particular, are summarised and discussed. The thesis also includes discussions of recent methodological developments in avian molecular systematics, the use of morphological characters in phylogenetic reconstruction, and the problem of phylogenetic incongruence between data sets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Zoologiska institutionen, 2004. 22 p.
systematics phylogeny DNA antbird ovenbird
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-209 (URN)91-7265-937-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-09-15, filmsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-08-25 Created: 2004-08-25Bibliographically approved

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