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Settling down of seasonal migrants promotes bird diversification

Abstract : How seasonal migration originated and impacted diversification in birds remains largely unknown. Although migratory behaviour is likely to affect bird diversification, previous studies have not detected any effect. Here, we infer ancestral migratory behaviour and the effect of seasonal migration on speciation and extinction dynamics using a complete bird tree of life. Our analyses infer that sedentary behaviour is ancestral, and that migratory behaviour evolved independently multiple times during the evolutionary history of birds. Speciation of a sedentary species into two sedentary daughter species is more frequent than speciation of a migratory species into two migratory daughter species. However,migratory species often diversify by generating a sedentary daughter species in addition to the ancestral migratory one. This leads to an overall higher migratory speciation rate. Migratory species also experience lower extinction rates. Hence, although migratory species represent a minority (18.5%) of all extant birds, they have a higher net diversification rate than sedentary species. These results suggest that the evolution of seasonal migration in birds has facilitated diversification through the divergence of migratory subpopulations that become sedentary, and illustrate asymmetrical diversification as a mechanism by which diversification rates are decoupled from species richness.
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Jonathan Rolland, Frédéric Jiguet, Knud Andreas Jønsson, Fabien Condamine, Hélène Morlon. Settling down of seasonal migrants promotes bird diversification. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2014, 281 (1784), pp.20140473. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2014.0473⟩. ⟨hal-03035562⟩



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