Molecular Phylogenetics and Comparative Analyses of Birds
These researchers are inferring phylogenetic relationships among passerine bird species using large (up to ~800 species and up to ~1 megabases) molecular datasets. MSI resources are critical both in the assembly and analysis of these large taxon sets and genome-scale data matrices. The data sets being analyzed are among the largest ever obtained or analyzed in addressing questions of bird phylogeny, and significant analytical resources are necessary in order to accomplish this task. Using these phylogenies, these researchers will be inferring the correlation between sexual selection (as inferred by sexual dichromatism) and diversification, estimating the impact of intercontinental dispersal on subsequent diversification rates, estimating the timing of intercontinental and continent-island dispersal events, and exploring environmental and biotic correlates of cooperative breeding behavior in birds. These analyses will be the most comprehensive tests of these hypotheses to date, and the first based on complete species-level sampling of any group. This will represent a significant advance in the fields of ornithology, biogeography, and evolutionary biology.
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