- Top of page
- Sampling and laboratory protocols
- Data analyses
- Secondary contact in masked boobies
- Initial divergence of masked boobies
- Supplementary material
- Supporting Information
To further test the hypothesis that the Isthmus of Panama is a major barrier to gene flow in pantropical seabirds, we applied phylogeographic methods to mitochondrial control sequence variation in masked booby (Sula dactylatra) populations on either side of the Isthmus of Panama and the southern tip of Africa. In accord with Steeves et al. (2003), we found that all Caribbean masked boobies with the ‘secondary contact’ cytochrome b haplotype (m-B) shared a control region haplotype (Sd_100), which grouped with Indian–Pacific haplotypes and not Caribbean–Atlantic haplotypes. In addition, Sd_100 was more closely related to control region haplotypes in the Indian Ocean than in the Pacific. We also found that the ‘secondary contact’ birds diverged more recently from extant populations in the Indian Ocean than in the Pacific. Thus, it appears that these masked boobies did not breach the Isthmus of Panama. Rather, birds likely dispersed around the southern tip of Africa during favourable oceanographic conditions in the Pleistocene.