CIE Spotlight: North or south? Phylogenetic and biogeographic origins of a globally distributed avian clade

Patricia L.

Patricia L.

Title: North or south? Phylogenetic and biogeographic origins of a globally distributed avian clade

Authors: Natalie dos Remedios, Patricia L. M. Lee, Terry Burke, Tamás Székely, Clemens Küpper

Source: MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS AND EVOLUTION, 89 (2015), 151–159, August 2015

Brief summary of the paper: The small plovers, genus Charadrius, are cosmopolitan shorebirds, distributed across all continents except Antarctica. However, where they originated and how they have spread across the globe is a mystery.

Based on plumage characters, some have argued for a Northern Hemisphere origin whereas others argued for a Southern Hemisphere origin. Previous attempts at using genetic characters have been frustrated by missing data.

Here we present the most complete molecular phylogeny to date, using DNA sequence data of four nuclear and two mitochondrial genes.

We found two major clades that include four species formerly placed outside of the Charadrius genus. Ancestral area analysis using the phylogeny as a framework supported a northern hemisphere origin, with subsequent colonisation of the southern hemisphere.