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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 113(3)

The Maluridae: inferring avian biology and evolutionary history from DNA sequences

Leo Joseph A D , Scott V. Edwards B and Alison J. McLean C

A Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
B Museum of Comparative Zoology and Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
C Griffith University, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith School of Environment, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: leo.joseph@csiro.au

Emu 113(3) 195-207 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU12081
Submitted: 21 September 2012  Accepted: 10 January 2013   Published: 15 August 2013


 
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Abstract

The Australo-Papuan fairy-wrens, emu-wrens and grasswrens comprise the passerine family Maluridae. They have long been known for their spectacular plumages, remarkable behavioural ecology and intriguing biogeography. The family has provided an ideal model with which to explore how phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of DNA-sequence data can inform understanding of evolutionary history and present-day biology. We review what has been learned of the phylogeny of the group and the phylogeographic history of individual species. We conclude that there is now a strong framework within which to pursue the remaining species-level taxonomic issues, and to extend ecological and behavioural studies into a new era of more detailed genetic questions such as the role of gene–environment interactions in adaptation. We highlight some remaining examples of such questions and discuss how they might be addressed.



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