Phylogeny and Biogeography of the Fruit Doves (Aves: Columbidae)

Cibois, A., Thibault, J. C., Bonillo, C., Filardi, C. E., Watling, D., & Pasquet, E. (2013). Phylogeny and biogeography of the fruit doves (Aves: Columbidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

This paper recovers a robust phylogeny using both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, the most likely biogeographic scenario, divergence times, diversification rates, and the evolution of the main plumage character of fruit doves.  The authors of this study were able to sample 44 of the 50 described species of fruit doves.  Unfortunately only the mitochondrial gene ND2 was sequenced for the museum specimens, most likely owing to the difficulty of sequencing nuclear DNA from museum specimens.  The authors found that the fruit doves most likely originated in proto New Guinea.  A large number of ancestral area combinations could be constructed from fruit doves given their broad distribution, and the authors devised 8 combinations, leaving a lot of room for future biogeographic studies.  The divergence times estimated by the authors fit well with the results of the biogeographic analysis.  There are few fossils to use for calibration, especially internally, so this could be another area to explore in future studies.  The authors found that the “purpuratus” clade made up the largest diversification of fruit doves in Oceania, but the eastbound colonization of fruit doves was not associated with a significant increase in their diversification rate.  Some concerns that were mentioned that may effect the diversification rates are coalescences that are older than the birth of the islands and later arrivals.  There was also a question about how recent extinctions may affect the diversification rates, as extinctions in that area are highly likely due to recent human habitation.  The ancenstral state reconstruction for the crown coloration of fruit doves showed that red crown coloration is a plesiomorphic state for this character within the “purpuratus” group.  Overall, the paper offers the best taxon sampling to date and gives us new insights on the biogeography, diversification rates, and divergence times of the fruit doves.
[UW Phylogenetic Seminar, 10/10,2013, Rachel Arnold]

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