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Mol Ecol. 2011 Aug;20(16):3414-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05190.x. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Multilocus analysis of the evolutionary dynamics of rainforest bird populations in Southeast Asia.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences and Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. hawclim@life.illinois.edu

Abstract

Sundaland has a dynamic geographic history because its landmasses were periodically interconnected when sea levels fell during glacial periods. Superimposed on this geographic dynamism were environmental changes related to climatic oscillations. To investigate how tropical taxa responded to such changes, we studied the divergence and demographic history of two co-distributed rainforest passerine species, Arachnothera longirostra and Malacocincla malaccensis. We sampled birds primarily from Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, which straddle the now-submerged Sunda shelf, and analysed multilocus DNA data with a variety of coalescent and gene genealogy methods. Cross-shelf divergence in both species occurred well before the last glacial maximum, i.e., before the most recent land connection. However, post-divergence gene flow occurred, and it was more pronounced in A. longirostra (a highly vagile nectarivore/insectivore) than in M. malaccensis (an understory insectivore). Despite current habitat continuity on Borneo, the population of M. malaccensis in northeastern Borneo is substantially divergent from that on the rest of the island. The NE population experienced dramatic demographic fluctuations, probably because of competition with the other population, which expanded from western Borneo after the mid-Pleistocene. In contrast, the Borneo population of A. longirostra has little structure and appears to have experienced demographic expansion 16 kya, long after it had diverged from the Malay Peninsula population (630-690 kya). Malay Peninsula populations of both species have remained relatively stable. Overall, the most recent glacial period was not the chief determinant of the evolutionary dynamics of our study species, and in this respect, they are different from temperate species.

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