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  1. Abstract

    Rivers frequently delimit the geographic ranges of species in the Amazon Basin. These rivers also define the boundaries between genetic clusters within many species, yet river boundaries have been documented to break down in headwater regions where rivers are narrower. To explore the evolutionary implications of headwater contact zones in Amazonia, we examined genetic variation in the Blue-capped Manakin (Lepidothrix coronata), a species previously shown to contain several genetically and phenotypically distinct populations across the western Amazon Basin. We collected restriction site-associated DNA sequence data (RADcap) for 706 individuals and found that spatial patterns of genetic structure indicate several rivers, particularly the Amazon and Ucayali, are dispersal barriers for L. coronata. We also found evidence that genetic connectivity is elevated across several headwater regions, highlighting the importance of headwater gene flow for models of Amazonian diversification. The headwater region of the Ucayali River provided a notable exception to findings of headwater gene flow by harboring non-admixed populations of L. coronata on opposite sides of a < 1-km-wide river channel with a known dynamic history, suggesting that additional prezygotic barriers may be limiting gene flow in this region.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    Introgression of beneficial alleles has emerged as an important avenue for genetic adaptation in both plant and animal populations. In vertebrates, adaptation to hypoxic high-altitude environments involves the coordination of multiple molecular and cellular mechanisms, including selection on the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway and the blood-O2 transport protein hemoglobin (Hb). In two Andean duck species, a striking DNA sequence similarity reflecting identity by descent is present across the ~20 kb β-globin cluster including both embryonic (HBE) and adult (HBB) paralogs, though it was yet untested whether this is due to independent parallel evolution or adaptive introgression. In this study, we find that identical amino acid substitutions in the β-globin cluster that increase Hb-O2 affinity have likely resulted from historical interbreeding between high-altitude populations of two different distantly-related species. We examined the direction of introgression and discovered that the species with a deeper mtDNA divergence that colonized high altitude earlier in history (Anas flavirostris) transferred adaptive genetic variation to the species with a shallower divergence (A. georgica) that likely colonized high altitude more recently possibly following a range shift into a novel environment. As a consequence, the species that received these β-globin variants through hybridization might have adapted to hypoxic conditions in the high-altitude environment more quickly through acquiring beneficial alleles from the standing, hybrid-origin variation, leading to faster evolution. 
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  3. Geographic turnover in community composition is created and maintained by eco-evolutionary forces that limit the ranges of species. One such force may be antagonistic interactions among hosts and parasites, but its general importance is unknown. Understanding the processes that underpin turnover requires distinguishing the contributions of key abiotic and biotic drivers over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Here, we address these challenges using flexible, nonlinear models to identify the factors that underlie richness (alpha diversity) and turnover (beta diversity) patterns of interacting host and parasite communities in a global biodiversity hot spot. We sampled 18 communities in the Peruvian Andes, encompassing ∼1,350 bird species and ∼400 hemosporidian parasite lineages, and spanning broad ranges of elevation, climate, primary productivity, and species richness. Turnover in both parasite and host communities was most strongly predicted by variation in precipitation, but secondary predictors differed between parasites and hosts, and between contemporary and phylogenetic timescales. Host communities shaped parasite diversity patterns, but there was little evidence for reciprocal effects. The results for parasite communities contradicted the prevailing view that biotic interactions filter communities at local scales while environmental filtering and dispersal barriers shape regional communities. Rather, subtle differences in precipitation had strong, fine-scale effects on parasite turnover while host–community effects only manifested at broad scales. We used these models to map bird and parasite turnover onto the ecological gradients of the Andean landscape, illustrating beta-diversity hot spots and their mechanistic underpinnings.

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  4. Abstract Tropical mountains feature marked species turnover along elevational gradients and across complex topography, resulting in great concentrations of avian biodiversity. In these landscapes, particularly among morphologically conserved and difficult to observe avian groups, species limits still require clarification. One such lineage is Scytalopus tapaculos, which are among the morphologically most conserved birds. Attention to their distinctive vocal repertoires and phylogenetic relationships has resulted in a proliferation of newly identified species, many of which are restricted range endemics. Here, we present a revised taxonomy and identify species limits among high-elevation populations of Scytalopus tapaculos inhabiting the Peruvian Andes. We employ an integrated framework using a combination of vocal information, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and appearance, gathered from our own fieldwork over the past 40 yr and supplemented with community-shared birdsong archives and museum specimens. We describe 3 new species endemic to Peru. Within all 3 of these species there is genetic differentiation, which in 2 species is mirrored by subtle geographic plumage and vocal variation. In a fourth species, Scytalopus schulenbergi, we document deep genetic divergence and plumage differences despite overall vocal similarity. We further propose that an extralimital taxon, Scytalopus opacus androstictus, be elevated to species rank, based on a diagnostic vocal character. Our results demonstrate that basic exploration and descriptive work using diverse data sources continues to identify new species of birds, particularly in tropical environs. 
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  5. Abstract

    Variation in susceptibility is ubiquitous in multi‐host, multi‐parasite assemblages, and can have profound implications for ecology and evolution in these systems. The extent to which susceptibility to parasites is phylogenetically conserved among hosts can be revealed by analysing diverse regional communities. We screened for haemosporidian parasites in 3983 birds representing 40 families and 523 species, spanning ~ 4500 m elevation in the tropical Andes. To quantify the influence of host phylogeny on infection status, we applied Bayesian phylogenetic multilevel models that included a suite of environmental, spatial, temporal, life history and ecological predictors. We found evidence of deeply conserved susceptibility across the avian tree; host phylogeny explained substantial variation in infection status, and results were robust to phylogenetic uncertainty. Our study suggests that susceptibility is governed, in part, by conserved, latent aspects of anti‐parasite defence. This demonstrates the importance of deep phylogeny for understanding present‐day ecological interactions.

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