Population genomics of the island thrush elucidates one of earth's great archipelagic radiations

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Tropical islands are renowned as natural laboratories for evolutionary study. Lineage radiations across tropical archipelagos are ideal systems for investigating how colonization, speciation, and extinction processes shape biodiversity patterns. The expansion of the island thrush across the Indo-Pacific represents one of the largest yet most perplexing island radiations of any songbird species. The island thrush exhibits a complex mosaic of pronounced plumage variation across its range and is arguably the world's most polytypic bird. It is a sedentary species largely restricted to mountain forests, yet it has colonized a vast island region spanning a quarter of the globe. We conducted a comprehensive sampling of island thrush populations and obtained genome-wide SNP data, which we used to reconstruct its phylogeny, population structure, gene flow, and demographic history. The island thrush evolved from migratory Palearctic ancestors and radiated explosively across the Indo-Pacific during the Pleistocene, with numerous instances of gene flow between populations. Its bewildering plumage variation masks a biogeographically intuitive stepping stone colonization path from the Philippines through the Greater Sundas, Wallacea, and New Guinea to Polynesia. The island thrush's success in colonizing Indo-Pacific mountains can be understood in light of its ancestral mobility and adaptation to cool climates; however, shifts in elevational range, degree of plumage variation and apparent dispersal rates in the eastern part of its range raise further intriguing questions about its biology.

TidsskriftEvolution Letters
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)24-36
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Generous sample loans from several museums provided the basis for this study. We thank the American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY (Paul Sweet, Tom Trombone, and Peter Capainolo); the British Museum of Natural History, Tring, UK (Robert Prys-Jones, Hein van Grouw, and Mark Adams); the Burke Museum, Seattle, WA (Sharon Birks); the Cincinnati Museum Center, OH (Emily Imhoff); the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL (Ben Marks); the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen (Jan Bolding Kristensen); the Queensland Museum, South Brisbane, Australia (Heather Janetzki and Paul Oliver); Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Histoire, Leiden, the Netherlands (Steven van der Mije and Pepijn Kamminga); the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. (Christopher Milensky); the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm (Ulf Johansson); and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT (Kristof Zyskowski). Leo Joseph, Frederick Sheldon, Trevor Price, and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on the manuscript. We thank Thorfinn Korneliussen for adding folded 2D-SFS support into ANGSD. The authors acknowledge support from the National Genomics Infrastructure in Stockholm, funded by Science for Life Laboratory, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and the Swedish Research Council. We also thank SNIC/Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science for assistance with massively parallel sequencing, and access to the UPPMAX computational infrastructure. This work was supported by the Carlsberg Foundation (grant numbers CF15-0078 and CF15-0079 to K.A.J.); the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Data Science Ascending Investigator grant number NNF22OC0076816 to F.R.); the US National Science Foundation (awards DBI-2029955 and DEB-1655736 to B.T.S); and the Villum Foundation (Young Investigator Programme grant number 15560 to K.A.J., and grant number 00025300 to F.R.).

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© 2023 The Author(s).

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