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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2008 Apr;47(1):221-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.01.017. Epub 2008 Jan 26.

Explosive avian radiations and multi-directional dispersal across Wallacea: evidence from the Campephagidae and other Crown Corvida (Aves).

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  • 1Vertebrate Department, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. kajonsson@snm.ku.dk


The systematic relationships among avian families within Crown Corvida have been poorly studied so far and as such been of limited use for biogeographic interpretations. The group has its origin in Australia and is thought to have colonized Africa and the New World via Asia beginning some 35 Mya when terranes of Australian origin approached Asian landmasses. Recent detailed tectonic mapping of the origin of land masses in the region around Wallace's line have revealed a particularly complex movement of terranes over the last 20-30 Myr. Thus the biogeographic dispersal pattern of Crown Corvida is a particularly exciting case for linking vicariance and dispersal events with Earth history. Here we examine phylogenetic affinities among 72 taxa covering a broad range of genera in the basal radiations within Crown Corvida with an emphasis on Campephagidae and Pachycephalidae. Bayesian analyses of nuclear DNA sequence data identified the family Campephagidae as monophyletic but the large genus Coracina is not. Within the family Pachycephalidae the genera Pachycephala and Colluricincla are paraphyletic with respect to each other. The resulting phylogeny suggests that patterns of dispersal across Wallace's line are complex and began at least 25 Mya. We find evidence of explosive radiations and multi-directional dispersal within the last 10 Myr, and three independent long distance ocean dispersal events between Wallacea and Africa at 10-15 Mya. Furthermore, the study reveals that in the Campephagidae a complex series of dispersal events rather than vicariance is the most likely explanation for the current biogeographic pattern in the region.

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