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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2009 Mar;50(3):618-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.12.012. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

Historical biogeography and speciation in the neotropical highlands: molecular phylogenetics of the jay genus Cyanolyca.

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Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, Deparment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, 1345 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence KS 66045, USA.


Phylogenetic relationships were studied in the genus Cyanolyca, an assemblage of jays distributed from Mexico south to Bolivia. Given its fragmented distribution along the humid forests of the Neotropics, the genus Cyanolyca is a model group for exploring hypotheses on biogeography and speciation. Phylogenetic analyses were based on two mitochondrial and three nuclear loci; taxon sampling includes all species in the genus and most subspecies. Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analyses produced trees that were congruent and highly robust at both terminal and deep nodes of the phylogeny. Cyanolyca comprises two major clades: one contains the Mesoamerican "dwarf" jays, and the other consists of two main groups--C. cucullata+C. pulchra and the "core" South American species. Prior hypotheses of relationships were explored statistically using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian approaches. Dispersal-Vicariance analysis revealed the importance of the Northern Andes as a major center for biological diversification, and the effects of dispersal across the Panamanian Land Bridge in the composition of South American and Mesoamerican avifaunas. Phylogenetic patterns are highly congruent with an allopatric mode of speciation. Implications of these results are discussed in the context of the biogeography of Neotropical montane forests.

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