Out of Amazonia again and again: Episodic crossing of the Andes promotes diversification in a lowland forest flycatcher

Matthew J. Miller, Eldredge Bermingham, John Klicka, Patricia Escalante, Fabio S.Raposo Do Amaral, Jason T. Weir, Kevin Winker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Most Neotropical lowland forest taxa occur exclusively on one side of the Andes despite the availability of appropriate habitat on both sides. Almost all molecular phylogenies and phylogenetic analyses of species assemblages (i.e. area cladograms) have supported the hypothesis that Andean uplift during the Late Pliocene created a vicariant barrier affecting lowland lineages in the region. However, a few widespread plant and animal species occurring in lowland forests on both sides of the Andes challenge the generality of this hypothesis. To understand the role of the Andes in the history of such organisms, we reconstructed the phylogeographic history of a widespread Neotropical flycatcher (Mionectes oleagineus) in the context of the other four species in the genus. A molecular phylogeny based on nuclear and mitochondrial sequences unambiguously showed an early basal split between montane and lowland Mionectes. The phylogeographic reconstruction of lowland taxa revealed a complex history, with multiple cases in which geographically proximate populations do not represent sister lineages. Specifically, three populations of M. oleagineus west of the Andes do not comprise a monophyletic clade; instead, each represents an independent lineage with origins east of the Andes. Divergence time estimates suggest that at least two cross-Andean dispersal events post-date Andean uplift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1142
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1639
StatePublished - May 22 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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