Research ArticleECOLOGY

Quaternary climate changes as speciation drivers in the Amazon floodplains

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Science Advances  11 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 11, eaax4718
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax4718


The role of climate as a speciation driver in the Amazon has long been discussed. Phylogeographic studies have failed to recover synchronous demographic responses across taxa, although recent evidence supports the interaction between rivers and climate in promoting speciation. Most studies, however, are biased toward upland forest organisms, while other habitats are poorly explored and could hold valuable information about major historical processes. We conducted a comparative phylogenomic analysis of floodplain forest birds to explore the effects of historical environmental changes and current connectivity on population differentiation. Our findings support a similar demographic history among species complexes, indicating that the central portion of the Amazon River basin is a suture zone for taxa isolated across the main Amazonian sub-basins. Our results also suggest that changes in the fluvial landscape induced by climate variation during the Mid- and Late Pleistocene drove population isolation, leading to diversification with subsequent secondary contact.

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