Phylogeny of shorebirds, gulls, and alcids (Aves : Charadrii) from the cytochrome-b gene: parsimony, Bayesian inference, minimum evolution, and quartet puzzling

G H Thomas, M A Wills, T Szekely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Charadrii (shorebirds, gulls, and alcids) have exceptional diversity in ecological, behavioral, and life-history traits. A phylogenetic framework is necessary to fully understand the relationships among these traits. Despite several attempts to resolve the phylogeny of the Charadrii, none have comprehensively utilized molecular sequence data. Complete and partial cytochrome-b gene sequences for 86 Charadrii and five Falconides species (as outgroup, taxa) were obtained from GenBank and aligned. We analyzed the resulting matrices using parsimony, Bayesian inference, minimum evolution, and quartet puzzling methods. Posterior probabilities, decay indices, and bootstrapping provide strong support for four major lineages consisting of gulls, alcids, plovers, and sandpipers, respectively. The broad structure of the trees differ significantly from all previous hypotheses of Charadrii phylogeny in placing the plovers at the base of the tree below the sandpipers in a pectinate sequence towards a large clade of gulls and alcids. The parsimony, Bayesian, and minimum evolution models provide strong evidence for this phylogenetic hypothesis. This is further corroborated by non-tree based measures of support and conflict (Lento plots). The quartet puzzling trees are poorly resolved and inconclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004

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