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Cincinnati, OH, United States

Mckay B.D.,American Museum of Natural History | Mays H.L.,Cincinnati Museum Center | Yao C.-T.,Endemic Species Research Institute | Wan D.,Liaoning University | And 2 more authors.
Systematic Biology | Year: 2014

Species designations are critically important scientific hypotheses that serve as the foundational units in a wide range of biological subdisciplines. A growing realization that some classes of data fail to delimit species under certain conditions has led to increasingly more integrative taxonomies, whereby species discovery and hypothesis testing are based on multiple kinds of data (e.g., morphological, molecular, behavioral, ecological, etc.). However, although most taxonomic descriptions have been based on morphology, some key morphological features, such as color, are rarely quantified and incorporated into integrative taxonomic studies. In this article, we applied a new method of ultraviolet digital photography to measure plumage variation in a color-variable avian species complex, the varied tit (Sittiparus varius). Plumage measurements corroborated species limits defined by morphometric, mitochondrial DNA, and nuclear DNA disjunctions and provided the only evidence for distinguishing two recently evolved species. Importantly, color quantification also provided a justification for lumping putative taxa with no evidence of evolutionary independence. Our revised taxonomy thus refines conservation units for listing and management and clarifies the primary units for evolutionary studies. Species tree analyses, which applied the newly delimited species as operational taxonomic units, revealed a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for the group that establishes a foundation for future biogeographic analyses. This study demonstrates how digital photography can be used to incorporate color character variation into integrative taxonomies, which should lead to more informed, more rigorous, and more accurate assessments of biodiversity. [Color, digital photography, integrative taxonomy, Sittiparus varius, species delimitation, varied tit.] © 2014 The Author(s) 2014. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

Brochu C.A.,University of Iowa | Storrs G.W.,Cincinnati Museum Center
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2012

We describe a new crocodile, Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni, sp. nov., on the basis of skulls and jaws from Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits in the Lake Turkana Basin of Kenya. The new species has a comparatively broad, deep snout and resembles an extinct horned crocodile from the Quaternary of Olduvai Gorge (C. anthropophagus), but the squamosal horns are not as well developed. The skull table has a strongly trapezoidal outline different from those of the living Nile crocodile (C. niloticus) and crocodiles from late Miocene deposits in the Turkana Basin. The largest specimens are from animals up to 7.5 m in total length. It would have been the largest predator in its environment, and the early humans found in the same deposits were presumably part of its prey base. A phylogenetic analysis, including the new species and an improved sample of extinct crocodyline diversity, suggests a more complex phylogenetic and biogeographic history for the clade in Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean region than previously supposed. The analysis limits the known geographic and stratigraphic range of Rimasuchus lloydi, previously thought to occur throughout Africa from the early Miocene through the Pleistocene of northern Africa. Crocodylus niloticus is not known with certainty from units older than the Quaternary, and most late Miocene fossils from the Turkana Basin previously referred to C. niloticus can instead be referred to C. checchiai. The current first appearance datum for Crocodylus in Africa is approximately 7 Ma. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Greb S.F.,University of Kentucky | Storrs G.W.,Cincinnati Museum Center | Garcia W.J.,University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Eble C.F.,University of Kentucky
Lethaia | Year: 2016

Aquatic vertebrates are reported from several facies of the Late Mississippian (Chesterian/Elviran/Serpukhovian) Buffalo Wallow Formation in western Kentucky, USA. Rhizodont bones and the partially articulated skeleton of a large anthracosaur (proterogyrinid) were found in rocks interpreted as a fluvial-estuarine palaeochannel. Smaller, disarticulated tetrapod remains (anthracosaurs, whatcheeriids) were found in a weathered siltstone in an apparent channel margin-sand flat facies. A putative oxbow-abandoned channel facies contains skeletal elements of rhizodonts (cf. Rhizodus), colosteiids, Gyracanthus, Ageleodus, Cynopodius, xenacanthoids and palaeonisiciforms. Near the top of the channel fill, lungfish (cf. Tranodis) are found in carbonate-rich nodules, which appear to be aestivation burrows. A presumed lacustrine facies contained a near-complete colosteid. Thinning section, palaeosols, pedogenically-altered carbonates and missing strata suggest tectonic and climatic overprints upon these depositional sequences. Multiple, incised channels in a low-accommodation setting are interpreted to have provided local faunal traps for aquatic vertebrates. Late Mississippian palaeoclimate changes may have caused water table fluctuations, which might have aided in trapping and preserving aquatic vertebrates. © 2016 The Lethaia Foundation.

McKay B.D.,University of Minnesota | Mays Jr. H.L.,Cincinnati Museum Center | Wu Y.,Guangdong Entomological Institute | Li H.,Guangdong Entomological Institute | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2013

The process of discovering species is a fundamental responsibility of systematics. Recently, there has been a growing interest in coalescent-based methods of species delimitation aimed at objectively identifying species early in the divergence process. However, few empirical studies have compared these new methods with character-based approaches for discovering species. In this study, we applied both a character-based and a coalescent-based approaches to delimit species in a closely related avian complex, the light-vented/Taiwan bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis/Pycnonotus taivanus). Population aggregation analyses of plumage, mitochondrial and 13 nuclear intron character data sets produced conflicting species hypotheses with plumage data suggesting three species, mitochondrial data suggesting two species, and nuclear intron data suggesting one species. Such conflict is expected among recently diverged species, and by integrating all sources of data, we delimited three species verified with independently congruent character evidence as well as a more weakly supported fourth species identified by a single character. Attempts to validate species hypothesis using Bayesian Phylogenetics and Phylogeography (BPP), a coalescent-based method of species delimitation, revealed several issues that can seemingly affect statistical support for species recognition. We found that θ priors had a dramatic impact on speciation probabilities, with lower values consistently favouring splitting and higher values consistently favouring lumping. More resolved guide trees also resulted in overall higher speciation probabilities. Finally, we found suggestive evidence that BPP is sensitive to the divergent effects of nonrandom mating caused by intraspecific processes such as isolation-with-distance, and therefore, BPP may not be a conservative method for delimiting independently evolving population lineages. Based on these concerns, we questioned the reliability of BPP results and based our conclusions about species limits exclusively on character data. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

McKay B.D.,University of Minnesota | Barker F.K.,University of Minnesota | Mays Jr. H.L.,Cincinnati Museum Center | Doucet S.M.,University of Windsor | Hill G.E.,Auburn University
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

Phylogenetic relationships among the 14 manakin genera were inferred from DNA sequence data obtained from both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA loci. Phylogenetic analysis resulted in a well-supported hypothesis that corroborates a sister relationship between tyrant-manakins and the "core" manakins (Antilophia, Chiroxiphia, Corapipo, Dixiphia, Heterocercus, Ilicura, Lepidothrix, Manacus, Masius, Machaeropterus, Pipra, and Xenopipo). Our data strongly support these core manakin genera as a monophyletic group. Consistent with previous work, we find two major clades within the core manakins, although the placement of the genus Xenopipo with regards to these two clades is ambiguous. Generic relationships within these clades are generally well resolved. Although we find some concordance between our study and a previous manakin phylogeny based on syringeal characters, we note several fundamental differences between the phylogenies. Thus, we offer a new phylogenetic hypothesis for Pipridae. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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