Influences of oceanic islands and the Pleistocene on the biogeography & #evolution of two groups of Australasian #parrots
Rapid evolution and implications for taxonomy and #conservation
The Australasian region is a centre of #biodiversity & #endemism, mainly based on the tropical climate in combination with the large amount of islands. During the Pleistocene, islands of the Sahul Shelf (Australia, New Guinea, Aru Islands) had been part of the same land mass, while islands within the Wallacea (Lesser Sunda Islands, Moluccas, Sulawesi etc.) remained isolated. Authors investigated biogeographical avian diversification patterns of two species complexes across the Wallacea and the Sahul Shelf: the Eclectus Parrot & the Rainbow Lorikeet. Both species are represented by a large number of described geographical subspecies. Authors used mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences for phylogenetic and network analysis to detect biogeographic roles of islands and avian diversification patterns. The number of threatened taxa in this region is increasing rapidly and there is an urgent need for (sub-)species conservation in this region.
Braun, M., et al. (2017). Influences of oceanic islands and the Pleistocene on the biogeography and evolution of two groups of Australasian parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes: Eclectus roratus, Trichoglossus haematodus complex). Rapid evolution and implications for taxonomy and conservation. European Journal of Ecology, 3(2), pp. 47-66. doi:10.1515/eje-2017-0014
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The study provides first genetic evidence for treating several island taxa as distinct species. In both species complexes similar genetic patterns were detected. Genetic diversification was higher across the islands of the Wallacea than across the islands of the Sahul Shelf.