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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Nov;41(2):322-32. Epub 2006 May 20.

Phylogeography of the Calonectris shearwaters using molecular and morphometric data.

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  • 1Departament Biologia Animal (Vertebrats), Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 645, Barcelona 08028, Spain.


We investigated phylogenetic relationships and the biogeographic history of the Calonectris species complex, using both molecular and biometric data from one population of the Cape Verde shearwater Calonectris edwardsii (Cape Verde Islands), one from the streaked shearwater C. leucomelas (western Pacific Ocean) and 26 from Cory's shearwater populations distributed across the Atlantic (C. d. borealis) and the Mediterranean (C. d. diomedea). The streaked shearwater appeared as the most basal and distant clades, whereas the genetic divergences among the three main clades within the Palearctic were similar. Clock calibrations match the first speciation event within Calonectris to the Panama Isthmus formation, suggesting a vicariant scenario for the divergence of the Pacific and the Palearctic clades. The separation between the Atlantic and Mediterranean clades would have occurred in allopatry by range contraction followed by local adaptation during the major biogeographic events of the Pleistocene. The endemic form from Cape Verde probably evolved as a result of ecological divergence from the Mediterranean subspecies. Finally, one Mediterranean population (Almeria) was unexpectedly grouped into the Atlantic subspecies clade, both by genetic and by morphometric analyses, pointing out the Almeria-Oran oceanographic front (AOOF) as the actual divide between the two Cory's shearwater subspecies. Our results highlight the importance of oceanographic boundaries as potentially effective barriers shaping population and species phylogeographical structure in pelagic seabirds.

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