A species assemblage approach to comparative phylogeography of birds in southern Australia

Authors

  • Gaynor Dolman,

    1. Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
    2. Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
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  • Leo Joseph

    1. Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
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  • Funded by the CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive for GD's OCE Postdoctoral Fellowship and lab costs.

Gaynor Dolman, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6242-1689; E-mail: gaynor.dolman@csiro.au

Abstract

We present a novel approach to investigating the divergence history of biomes and their component species using single-locus data prior to investing in multilocus data. We use coalescent-based hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation (HABC) methods (MsBayes) to estimate the number and timing of discrete divergences across a putative barrier and to assign species to their appropriate period of co-divergence. We then apply a coalescent-based full Bayesian model of divergence (IMa) to suites of species shown to have simultaneously diverged. The full Bayesian model results in reduced credibility intervals around divergence times and allows other parameters associated with divergence to be summarized across species assemblages. We apply this approach to 10 bird species that are wholly or patchily discontinuous in semi-arid habitats between Australia's southwest (SW) and southeast (SE) mesic zones. There was substantial support for up to three discrete periods of divergence. HABC indicates that two species wholly restricted to more mesic habitats diverged earliest, between 594,382 and 3,417,699 years ago, three species from semi-arid habitats diverged between 0 and 1,508,049 years ago, and four diverged more recently, between 0 and 396,843 years ago. Eight species were assigned to three periods of co-divergence with confidence. For full Bayesian analyses, we accounted for uncertainty in the two remaining species by analyzing all possible suites of species. Estimates of divergence times from full Bayesian divergence models ranged between 429,105 and 2,006,355; 67,172 and 663,837; and 24,607 and 171,085 for the earliest, middle, and most recent periods of co-divergence, respectively. This single-locus approach uses the power of multitaxa coalescent analyses as an efficient means of generating a foundation for further, targeted research using multilocus and genomic tools applied to an understudied biome.

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