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  1. Abstract

    Rivers are known to act as biogeographic barriers in several strictly terrestrial taxa, while possibly serving as conduits of dispersal for freshwater-tolerant or -dependent species. However, the influence of river systems on genetic diversity depends on taxa-specific life history traits as well as other geographic factors. In amphibians, several studies have demonstrated that river systems have only minor influence on their divergence. Here, we assess the role of the paleodrainage systems of the Sunda region (with a focus on the island of Sumatra) in shaping the evolutionary history of two genera of frogs (SumateranaandWijayarana) whose tadpoles are highly dependent on cascading stream habitats. Our phylogenetic results show no clear association between the genetic diversification patterns of both anurans genera and the existence of paleodrainage systems. Time-calibrated phylogenies and biogeographical models suggest that these frogs colonized Sumatra and diversified on the island before the occurrence of the Pleistocene drainage systems. Both genera demonstrate phylogenetic structuring along a north–south geographic axis, the temporal dynamics of which coincide with the geological chronology of proto Sumatran and -Javan volcanic islands. Our results also highlight the chronic underestimation of Sumatran biodiversity and call for more intense sampling efforts on the island.

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  2. Abstract

    The biota of Sulawesi is noted for its high degree of endemism and for its substantial levels of in situ biological diversification. While the island’s long period of isolation and dynamic tectonic history have been implicated as drivers of the regional diversification, this has rarely been tested in the context of an explicit geological framework. Here, we provide a tectonically informed biogeographical framework that we use to explore the diversification history of Sulawesi flying lizards (the Draco lineatus Group), a radiation that is endemic to Sulawesi and its surrounding islands. We employ a framework for inferring cryptic speciation that involves phylogeographic and genetic clustering analyses as a means of identifying potential species followed by population demographic assessment of divergence-timing and rates of bi-directional migration as means of confirming lineage independence (and thus species status). Using this approach, phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of mitochondrial sequence data obtained for 613 samples, a 50-SNP data set for 370 samples, and a 1249-locus exon-capture data set for 106 samples indicate that the current taxonomy substantially understates the true number of Sulawesi Draco species, that both cryptic and arrested speciations have taken place, and that ancient hybridization confounds phylogenetic analyses that do not explicitly account for reticulation. The Draco lineatus Group appears to comprise 15 species—9 on Sulawesi proper and 6 on peripheral islands. The common ancestor of this group colonized Sulawesi ~11 Ma when proto-Sulawesi was likely composed of two ancestral islands, and began to radiate ~6 Ma as new islands formed and were colonized via overwater dispersal. The enlargement and amalgamation of many of these proto-islands into modern Sulawesi, especially during the past 3 Ma, set in motion dynamic species interactions as once-isolated lineages came into secondary contact, some of which resulted in lineage merger, and others surviving to the present. [Genomics; Indonesia; introgression; mitochondria; phylogenetics; phylogeography; population genetics; reptiles.]

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  3. Frogs in the family Ranidae are diverse in Asia and are thought to have dispersed to the Sahul Shelf approximately 10 million years ago, where they radiated into more than a dozen species. Ranid species in the intervening oceanic islands of Wallacea, such as Hylarana florensis and H. elberti from the Lesser Sundas and H. moluccana from eastern Wallacea, are assumed to belong to the subgenus Papurana, yet this has not been confirmed with molecular data. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA of Hylarana species from five islands spanning the reported ranges of H. florensis and H. elberti and compared them to confirmed Papurana species and closely related subgenera within Hylarana. We find that the Lesser Sunda H. florensis and H. elberti form a clade that is sister to the rest of the Australo-Papuan Papurana assemblage. Species delimitation analyses and divergence time estimates suggest that populations of H. florensis on Lombok may be distinct from those on Flores at the species level. Likewise, populations of H. elberti on Sumba and Timor may be distinct from each other and from those on Wetar, tshe type locality of H. elberti. Samples from Babar Island thought to be members of H. elberti in fact belong to the wide-ranging H. daemeli, which occurs in northern Australia, across New Guinea, and on the neighboring island of Tanimbar. These results suggest that the Lesser Sundas may have served as a stepping-stone for colonization of the Sahul Shelf and that species diversity of Papurana frogs is underestimated in the Lesser Sundas.  

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  4. Abstract

    Cryptic ecologies, the Wallacean Shortfall of undocumented species’ geographical ranges and the Linnaean Shortfall of undescribed diversity, are all major barriers to conservation assessment. When these factors overlap with drivers of extinction risk, such as insular distributions, the number of threatened species in a region or clade may be underestimated, a situation we term ‘cryptic extinction risk’. The genusLepidodactylusis a diverse radiation of insular and arboreal geckos that occurs across the western Pacific. Previous work onLepidodactylusshowed evidence of evolutionary displacement around continental fringes, suggesting an inherent vulnerability to extinction from factors such as competition and predation. We sought to (1) comprehensively review status and threats, (2) estimate the number of undescribed species, and (3) estimate extinction risk in data deficient and candidate species, inLepidodactylus. From our updated IUCN Red List assessment, 60% of the 58 recognized species are threatened (n = 15) or Data Deficient (n = 21), which is higher than reported for most other lizard groups. Species from the smaller and isolated Pacific islands are of greatest conservation concern, with most either threatened or Data Deficient, and all particularly vulnerable to invasive species. We estimated 32 undescribed candidate species and linear modelling predicted that an additional 18 species, among these and the data deficient species, are threatened with extinction. Focusing efforts to resolve the taxonomy and conservation status of key taxa, especially on small islands in the Pacific, is a high priority for conserving this remarkably diverse, yet poorly understood, lizard fauna. Our data highlight how cryptic ecologies and cryptic diversity combine and lead to significant underestimation of extinction risk.

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  5. Field biology is an area of research that involves working directly with living organisms in situ through a practice known as “fieldwork.” Conducting fieldwork often requires complex logistical planning within multiregional or multinational teams, interacting with local communities at field sites, and collaborative research led by one or a few of the core team members. However, existing power imbalances stemming from geopolitical history, discrimination, and professional position, among other factors, perpetuate inequities when conducting these research endeavors. After reflecting on our own research programs, we propose four general principles to guide equitable, inclusive, ethical, and safe practices in field biology: be collaborative, be respectful, be legal, and be safe. Although many biologists already structure their field programs around these principles or similar values, executing equitable research practices can prove challenging and requires careful consideration, especially by those in positions with relatively greater privilege. Based on experiences and input from a diverse group of global collaborators, we provide suggestions for action-oriented approaches to make field biology more equitable, with particular attention to how those with greater privilege can contribute. While we acknowledge that not all suggestions will be applicable to every institution or program, we hope that they will generate discussions and provide a baseline for training in proactive, equitable fieldwork practices. 
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