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Evolution. 2011 Feb;65(2):321-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01105.x. Epub 2010 Sep 29.

Revisiting Wallace's haunt: coalescent simulations and comparative niche modeling reveal historical mechanisms that promoted avian population divergence in the Malay Archipelago.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA.


Sundaland, a biogeographic region of Southeast Asia, is a major biodiversity hotspot. However, little is known about the relative importance of Pleistocene habitat barriers and rivers in structuring populations and promoting diversification here. We sampled 16 lowland rainforest bird species primarily from peninsular Malaysia and Borneo to test the long-standing hypothesis that animals on different Sundaic landmasses intermixed extensively when lower sea-levels during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) exposed land-bridges. This hypothesis was rejected in all but five species through coalescent simulations. Furthermore, we detected a range of phylogeographic patterns; Bornean populations are often genetically distinct from each other, despite their current habitat connectivity. Environmental niche modeling showed that the presence of unsuitable habitats between western and eastern Sundaland during the LGM coincided with deeper interpopulation genetic divergences. The location of this habitat barrier had been hypothesized previously based on other evidence. Paleo-riverine barriers are unlikely to have produced such a pattern, but we cannot rule out that they acted with habitat changes to impede population exchanges across the Sunda shelf. The distinctiveness of northeastern Borneo populations may be underlied by a combination of factors such as rivers, LGM expansion of montane forests and other aspects of regional physiography.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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