BUILD-UP OF THE HIMALAYAN AVIFAUNA THROUGH IMMIGRATION: A BIOGEOGRAPHICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PHYLLOSCOPUS AND SEICERCUS WARBLERS

Authors


Corresponding author. Present address: DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Evolutionary Genomics Group, Department of Botany and Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Maiteland 7602, South Africa.

Abstract

The Himalayan mountain range is one of the most species-rich areas in the world, harboring about 8% of the world's bird species. In this study, we compare the relative importance of immigration versus in situ speciation to the build-up of the Himalayan avifauna, by evaluating the biogeographic history of the Phylloscopus/Seicercus warblers, a speciose clade that is well represented in Himalayan forests. We use a comprehensive, multigene phylogeny in conjunction with dispersal-vicariance analysis to discern patterns of speciation and dispersal within this clade. The results indicate that virtually no speciation has occurred within the Himalayas. Instead, several speciation events are attributed to dispersal into the Himalayas followed by vicariance between the Himalayas and China/Southeast Asia. Most, perhaps all, of these events appear to be pre-Pleistocene. The apparent lack of speciation within the Himalayas stands in contrast to the mountain-driven Pleistocene speciation suggested for the Andes and the East African mountains.

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