Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 2019


The utility of islands as natural laboratories of evolution is exemplified in the patterns of differentiation in widespread, phenotypically variable lineages. Pachycephalidae is one of the most complex avian radiations spanning the vast archipelagos of the Indo-Pacific, making it an ideal group to study the patterns and processes of diversification on islands. Here, we present a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for all five genera within Pachycephalidae, based on thousands of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) generated with a target-capture approach and high-throughput sequencing. We clarify certain taxonomic relationships within Pachycephala and discover that Wallacea plays a much larger role in pachycephalid evolutionary history than previously thought. This work further refines our understanding of one of the regions’ most enigmatic bird lineages and adds to our growing knowledge about the patterns and processes of diversification in the Indo-Pacific.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Michael J. Andersen

Second Committee Member

Joseph A. Cook

Third Committee Member

Christopher C. Witt

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