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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2018 Oct 25;131:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.10.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Nuclear introns help unravel the diversification history of the Australo-Pacific Petroica robins.

Author information

1
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Biological Sciences, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA. Electronic address: kearnsa@si.edu.
2
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Biological Sciences, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA; University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.
3
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.
4
University of Canterbury, School of Biological Sciences, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand.
5
Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO National Research Collections Australia, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
6
Laboratories of Analytical Biology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20013, USA.
7
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Biological Sciences, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.

Abstract

Australo-Pacific Petroica robins are known for their striking variability in sexual plumage coloration. Molecular studies in recent years have revised the taxonomy of species and subspecies boundaries across the southwest Pacific and New Guinea. However, these studies have not been able to resolve phylogenetic relationships within Petroica owing to limited sampling of the nuclear genome. Here, we sequence five nuclear introns across all species for which fresh tissue was available. Nuclear loci offer support for major geographic lineages that were first inferred from mtDNA. We find almost no shared nuclear alleles between currently recognized species within the New Zealand and Australian lineages, whereas the Pacific robin radiation has many shared alleles. Multilocus coalescent species trees based on nuclear loci support a sister relationship between the Australian lineage and the Pacific robin radiation-a node that is poorly supported by mtDNA. We also find discordance in support for a sister relationship between the similarly plumaged Rose Robin (P. rosea) and Pink Robin (P. rodinogaster). Our nuclear data complement previous mtDNA studies in suggesting that the phenotypically cryptic eastern and western populations of Australia's Scarlet Robin (P. boodang) are genetically distinct lineages at the early stages of divergence and speciation.

KEYWORDS:

Indo-Pacific; Island biogeography; Phylogeography; Sexual dichromatism; Species limits; Species tree

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