Ph.d.- forsvar Petter Zahl Marki – Københavns Universitet

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Ph.d.- forsvar Petter Zahl Marki


It has long been recognized that the diversity of life on Earth is highly unevenly distributed, both among taxonomic clades and among geographic regions. For instance, the observation that some evolutionary clades are significantly more diverse than others represents one of the most pervasive patterns in nature. Advancing our understanding of the processes that are responsible for generating such a heterogeneous distribution of species among clades and regions is a central goal in evolutionary biology and ecology. In this thesis, I have attempted to contribute to the growing body of work that has assessed these issues. To do so, I have used the large radiation of passerine birds as a model system. Through analysis of a combination of phylogenetic, ecological and distributional data, I present evidence of widespread variation in the rates at which both species and morphological diversity evolves and accumulates and in the extent of geographic expansion among clades. Importantly, I find that much of this variation can be linked to key differences in life history strategies and ecology among different species and groups. An important implication of these findings however, is that the causes of variation in geographic distributions, and species and morphological diversity among passerine birds, are multi-faceted and have likely been shaped by a variety of different processes. Continued research into how these factors interact, and the genetic architecture underlying them, offers great potential in terms of elucidating the relative contribution of the processes that determine biodiversity gradients.


Professor Carsten Rahbek, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Professor Jon Fjeldså, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Professor Arild Johnsen, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Professor Jan T. Lifjeld, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Assessment committee:

Associate Professor Kasper Thorup, Natural History Museum of Denmark

Senior Lecturer Joseph A. Tobias, Imperial College London

Chargée de recherche Alice Cibois, Natural History Museum of Geneva