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Barcoding South American Birds

  1. Darío A Lijtmaer,
  2. Pablo L Tubaro

Published Online: 15 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0022856

eLS

eLS

How to Cite

Lijtmaer, D. A. and Tubaro, P. L. 2010. Barcoding South American Birds. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2010

Abstract

DNA barcoding, a genetic-based species identification system, has proven to be highly effective. The project to barcode all the birds of the world was one of the first campaigns to be launched and over 30% of the species have been already barcoded. The Neotropics are the most biodiverse region of the planet, including almost 4000 species of birds, and barcoding its avifauna is therefore vital for the project. Most of the progress within this region has been made in South America, including the first large-scale barcode study of Neotropical vertebrates, which is being carried out in Argentina. This study has shown that barcoding is highly efficient in the southern Neotropics, allowing the recognition of more than 98% of bird species. Large-scale barcoding surveys also allow flagging interesting species or groups of species worthy of deeper analysis, studying avian diversification and analysing continental patterns of evolution, biogeography and speciation.

Key Concepts:

  • DNA barcoding is a system for species identification that is based on the use of a short, standardised DNA fragment (COI in the case of animals).

  • The All Birds Barcoding Inititative (ABBI) is the campaign that aims to barcode all the birds of the world, and approximately 30% of the species have been already barcoded.

  • The Neotropical region is the most biodiverse of the Planet, including almost 4000 bird species, and barcoding its avifauna is therefore vital for the advancement of the ABBI.

  • Most of the progress in the Neotropics has been made in South America, where a large-scale project to barcode the Birds of Argentina is being performed.

  • Barcoding has proven to be highly efficient for species recognition in the southern Neotropics, where more than 98% of bird species can be identified using COI.

  • Barcoding the Argentine avifauna also flagged many interesting species or groups of species worthy of further analysis, including approximately 5% of species in which at least two deeply diverging lineages were found.

  • The study of avian diversification patterns in the region using COI showed cases of allopatric, paraptric and sympatric divergences.

  • The comparison of the COI datasets between the southern Neotropics and the Nearctic suggests that species are slightly older in the former and supports the notion that phylogenetic structuring is more complex in the Neotropics.

Keywords:

  • barcoding;
  • birds;
  • evolutionary patterns;
  • neotropics;
  • South America