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The spatio-temporal colonization and diversification across the Indo-Pacific by a ‘great speciator’ (Aves, Erythropitta erythrogaster)
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2013 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 280, no 1759, 20130309- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Indo-Pacific region has arguably been the most important area for the formulation of theories about biogeography and speciation, but modern studies of the tempo, mode and magnitude of diversification across this region are scarce. We study the biogeographical history and characterize levels of diversification in the wide-ranging passerine bird Erythropitta erythrogaster using molecular, phylogeographic and population genetics methods, as well as morphometric and plumage analyses. Our results suggest that E. erythrogaster colonized the Indo-Pacific during the Pleistocene in an eastward direction following a stepping stone pathway, and that sea level fluctuations during the Pleistocene only locally may have promoted gene flow. A molecular species delimitation test suggests that several allopatric island populations of E. erythrogaster may be regarded as species. Most of these putative new species are further characterized by diagnostic differences in plumage. Our study reconfirms the E. erythrogaster complex as a ‘great speciator’: it represents a complex of up to 17 allopatrically distributed, reciprocally monophyletic and/or morphologically diagnosable species that originated during the Pleistocene. Our results support the view that observed latitudinal gradients of genetic divergence among avian sister-species may have been affected by incomplete knowledge of taxonomic limits in tropical bird species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 280, no 1759, 20130309- p.
Keyword [en]
island biogeography; integrative taxonomy; speciation; phylogeny; Pleistocene climate changes
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88820DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0309ISI: 000317482100022OAI: diva2:613706
Swedish Research Council, 621-2010-5321EU, European Research Council, PIEF-GA-2011-300924
Available from: 2013-04-01 Created: 2013-04-01 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Integrative taxonomy of birds: Studies into the nature, origin and delimitation of species
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrative taxonomy of birds: Studies into the nature, origin and delimitation of species
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Species are the basic currency in biodiversity studies but what constitutes a species has long been controversial. A major breakthough was the insight that most systematists agree that species are segments of population lineages, and that multiple lines of evidence should be employed and integrated, a procedure called integrative taxonomy. For this dissertation, I have studied integrative taxonomy from three angles. First, I address a series of influential claims about the nature and empirical basis of taxonomic change in birds. In Paper I, I show that taxonomic change is overwhelmingly data-driven. Thus, increasing numbers of species represent progress, not taxonomic inflation resulting from a change in species concept. In Paper II, I provide the first detailed quantitative analysis of how species are delimited in practice. This study shows that, contrary to widely held beliefs, avian taxonomy has not been dominated by the Biological Species Concept. Instead, species delimitation is increasingly pluralistic and eclectic. I argue that taxonomic practice is more unified than is implied by the controversy over species concepts. Integrative taxonomy can provide new insights into the speciation process. In Paper III, I show that two very different evolutionary patterns have been referred to by the term ‘ring species’ which are best distinguished using an integrative approach. Finally, two case studies of integrative taxonomy are presented. In Paper IV, we describe a new cryptic species of owl, the Rinjani Scops Owl (Otus jolandae), using evidence from plumage details, morphometrics, vocalizations and playback studies. Paper V presents a study of the evolutionary history of diversification in a widespread Indo-Pacific passerine, the Red-bellied Pitta (Erythropitta erythrogaster). Using molecular species delimitation methods and evidence from plumage details and morphometrics, we suggest that this species includes up to 17 species which originated during the Pleistocene

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2013. 36 p.
Aves, biogeography, integrative taxonomy, pluralism, ring species, speciation, species criteria, species limits, taxon chain
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Systematic Zoology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96049 (URN)978-91-7447-818-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-12, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Ahead of Print; Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-08 Last updated: 2013-11-20Bibliographically approved

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Sangster, GeorgeEricson, Per GP
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