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  1. Abstract

    A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of lowland antpittas in the generaHylopezusandMyrmotheraindicated thatHylopezus, as currently defined, is paraphyletic with respect toMyrmotheraandGrallaricula. Specifically, both species now placed inMyrmothera, Hylopezus dives,Hylopezus fulviventrisandHylopezus berlepschiform a strongly supported clade that is sister to a clade comprised byHylopezus perspicillatus,Hylopezus auricularis,Hylopezus ochroleucus,Hylopezus whittakeri,Hylopezus paraensis,Hylopezus macularius,andHylopezus dilutus. Furthermore,Hylopezus nattereriis sister to a clade glade groupingMyrmothera,Hylopezus, andGrallaricula, representing the most divergent lineage in this complex. Our approach to assess diagnosability and define generic boundaries among these taxa integrates phylogenetic relationships with morphological and acoustic traits. Given that phenotypic and ecological differences do not warrant mergingH. nattereriinto any other genus, and because there is no generic name available forH. nattereri, we describe herein a new genus for this Atlantic Forest endemic lineage,Cryptopezusgen. n. We also redefine generic limits inMyrmotheraandHylopezusto have a taxonomic classification concordant with their phylogenetic relationships.

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  2. Abstract

    South American dry forests have a complex and poorly understood biogeographic history. Based on the fragmented distribution of many Neotropical dry forest species, it has been suggested that this biome was more widely distributed and contiguous under drier climate conditions in the Pleistocene. To test this scenario, known as the Pleistocene Arc Hypothesis, we studied the phylogeography of the Rufous‐fronted Thornbird (Phacellodomus rufifrons), a widespread dry forest bird with a disjunct distribution closely matching that of the biome itself. We sequenced mtDNA and used ddRADseq to sample 7,167 genome‐wide single‐nucleotide polymorphisms from 74P. rufifronsindividuals across its range. We found low genetic differentiation over two prominent geographic breaks — particularly across a 1,000 km gap between populations in Bolivia and Northern Peru. Using demographic analyses of the joint site frequency spectrum, we found evidence of recent divergence without subsequent gene flow across those breaks. By contrast, parapatric morphologically distinct populations in northeastern Brazil show high genetic divergence with evidence of recent gene flow. These results, in combination with our paleoclimate species distribution modelling, support the idea that currently disjunct patches of dry forest were more connected in the recent past, probably during the Middle and Late Pleistocene. This notion fits the major predictions of the Pleistocene Arc Hypothesis and illustrates the importance of comprehensive genomic and geographic sampling for examining biogeographic and evolutionary questions in complex ecosystems like Neotropical dry forests.

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  3. Avian diversification has been influenced by global climate change, plate tectonic movements, and mass extinction events. However, the impact of these factors on the diversification of the hyperdiverse perching birds (passerines) is unclear because family level relationships are unresolved and the timing of splitting events among lineages is uncertain. We analyzed DNA data from 4,060 nuclear loci and 137 passerine families using concatenation and coalescent approaches to infer a comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis that clarifies relationships among all passerine families. Then, we calibrated this phylogeny using 13 fossils to examine the effects of different events in Earth history on the timing and rate of passerine diversification. Our analyses reconcile passerine diversification with the fossil and geological records; suggest that passerines originated on the Australian landmass ∼47 Ma; and show that subsequent dispersal and diversification of passerines was affected by a number of climatological and geological events, such as Oligocene glaciation and inundation of the New Zealand landmass. Although passerine diversification rates fluctuated throughout the Cenozoic, we find no link between the rate of passerine diversification and Cenozoic global temperature, and our analyses show that the increases in passerine diversification rate we observe are disconnected from the colonization of new continents. Taken together, these results suggest more complex mechanisms than temperature change or ecological opportunity have controlled macroscale patterns of passerine speciation.

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  4. The tropics are the source of most biodiversity yet inadequate sampling obscures answers to fundamental questions about how this diversity evolves. We leveraged samples assembled over decades of fieldwork to study diversification of the largest tropical bird radiation, the suboscine passerines. Our phylogeny, estimated using data from 2389 genomic regions in 1940 individuals of 1283 species, reveals that peak suboscine species diversity in the Neotropics is not associated with high recent speciation rates but rather with the gradual accumulation of species over time. Paradoxically, the highest speciation rates are in lineages from regions with low species diversity, which are generally cold, dry, unstable environments. Our results reveal a model in which species are forming faster in environmental extremes but have accumulated in moderate environments to form tropical biodiversity hotspots.

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  5. Building the Tree of Life (ToL) is a major challenge of modern biology, requiring advances in cyberinfrastructure, data collection, theory, and more. Here, we argue that phylogenomics stands to benefit by embracing the many heterogeneous genomic signals emerging from the first decade of large-scale phylogenetic analysis spawned by high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Such signals include those most commonly encountered in phylogenomic datasets, such as incomplete lineage sorting, but also those reticulate processes emerging with greater frequency, such as recombination and introgression. Here we focus specifically on how phylogenetic methods can accommodate the heterogeneity incurred by such population genetic processes; we do not discuss phylogenetic methods that ignore such processes, such as concatenation or supermatrix approaches or supertrees. We suggest that methods of data acquisition and the types of markers used in phylogenomics will remain restricted until a posteriori methods of marker choice are made possible with routine whole-genome sequencing of taxa of interest. We discuss limitations and potential extensions of a model supporting innovation in phylogenomics today, the multispecies coalescent model (MSC). Macroevolutionary models that use phylogenies, such as character mapping, often ignore the heterogeneity on which building phylogenies increasingly rely and suggest that assimilating such heterogeneity is an important goal moving forward. Finally, we argue that an integrative cyberinfrastructure linking all steps of the process of building the ToL, from specimen acquisition in the field to publication and tracking of phylogenomic data, as well as a culture that values contributors at each step, are essential for progress.

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