BIOGEOGRAPHIC HISTORY AND INTEGRATIVE TAXONOMY OF ASIAN PASSERINE BIRDS
Passerine assemblages of the Sino-Himalayan mountain system
The Himalayan and Chinese mountain forests along the southern and eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau are one of the most important biodiversity hotspots of the Northern Hemisphere. For forest passerines we have reconstructed a three-fold evolutionary history: A first Miocence radiation of tropical faunal elements to the Sino-Himalayas followed by a second Pliocene radiation of boreal faunal elements to the subalpine forest belts of this region. The third and final phase corresponds to Pleistocene speciation processes due to range fragmentation and to the establishment of extant vicariance and parapatry.
Likewise the evolutionary history of alpine species assemblages of the Qinghai-Tibetan-Plateau must have been triggered by various phases of global climate change and independent colonization events. A current project on these alpine passerine populations is firmly associated with the DFG research cluster “Origin and Evolution of Tibetan-Himalayan Biotas” and joint meta-analyses will be carried out with respect to changes in organismic diversification rates and associated climate and vegetation changes.
Cooperation: All studies are based on long-term cooperation with the Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China (Prof. Yue-Hua Sun) and the Johannes-Gutenberg-University, Mainz (Professor Jochen Martens); further QTP research cluster cooperations: BiK-F project area D2.4 “Biodiversity and Evolution of arctic vertebrates“, Frankurt a. M. (Dr. Frank Hailer); Insitut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität, Johann-Wolfgang v. Goethe University of Frankfurt a. M. (Dr. Dieter Thomas Tietze); PhD candidate: Patrick Strutzenberger;
Funding: DFG, 2012-2015: QTP research cluster; LOEWE-Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” of Hesse’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts, 2011;
Key publications: Päckert et al. (2012): J. Biogeogr. 39; Martens et al. (2011): Ornithol. Monogr. 70.; Päckert et al. (2013): J. Ornithol. 154;
Island raditations: endemic passerines of Taiwan
According to BirdLifeInternational the avifauna of Taiwan comprises fifteen endemics (and even 24 endemics according to the IOC World List!) which make up about 9% of the breeding bird species. Furthermore, a good number of endemic subspecies from Taiwan might also deserve full species status. In this project we aimed at the inclusion of Taiwan endemic taxa (both species and subspecies) in molecular multilocus phylogenies. In flanking bioacoustic analyses we compared territorial songs of some of the target species to those of closely related conspecifics.
Cooperation: Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei (Prof. Lucia Liu Severinghaus)
Funding: Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft, Gesellschaft für Tropenornithologie, 2007
Project summary Taiwan
Allopatric speciation at the Isthmus of Kra – Thai bulbuls
The evolutionary history of the continental Southeast Asian avifauna involves faunal interchange with the adjacent mountain systems in the North and with the Sunda Region in the South. Extant phylogeographic differentiation patterns might have originated from complex island radiations including downstream colonization to the continent. Even in birds the opening and closure of land bridges such as the Isthmus of Kra on the Malaysian Peninsula might have triggered allopatric speciation. Under this aspect, we analyse the phylogeographic patterns of tropical bulbuls (Pycnonotus) across a latitudinal gradient in Thailand.
Cooperation: University of Ulm, Germany (Dr. Swen Renner); Prince of Songkla University; Hatyai, Thailand; PhD candidate: Ariya Dejtaradol.
Funding: Prince of Songkla University (grant to A. Dejtaradol), Paul-Ungerer-Stiftung;