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Australia\u27s arid-adapted butcherbirds experienced range expansions during Pleistocene glacial maxima

By Anna M. Kearns, Leo Joseph, Alicia Toon and Lyn G. Cook


A model of range expansions during glacial maxima (GM) for cold-adapted species is generally accepted for the Northern Hemisphere. Given that GM in Australia largely resulted in the expansion of arid zones, rather than glaciation, it could be expected that arid-adapted species might have had expanded ranges at GM, as cold-adapted species did in the Northern Hemisphere. For Australian biota, however, it remains paradigmatic that arid-adapted species contracted to refugia at GM. Here we use multilocus data and ecological niche models (ENMs) to test alternative GM models for butcherbirds. ENMs, mtDNA and estimates of nuclear introgression and past population sizes support a model of GM expansion in the arid-tolerant Grey Butcherbird that resulted in secondary contact with its close relative - the savanna-inhabiting Silver-backed Butcherbird - whose contemporary distribution is widely separated. Together, these data reject the universal use of a GM contraction model for Australia\u27s dry woodland and arid biota

Topics: Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES, 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, 1600 Chemistry, 3100 Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1038/ncomms4994
OAI identifier:

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