MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
First genetic assessment of the level of endemism in the avifauna of the Central Sierras in southern South America.
LAVINIA OBLANCA, P. D,; TUBARO, P. L.; TRUJILLO ARIAS, N.; LIJTMAER, D. A.; BUKOWSKI, B.; KOPUCHIAN, C.
JOURNAL OF AVIAN BIOLOGY
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Lugar: Londres; Año: 2017 vol. 48
The Andes constitute one of the main factors that have promoted diversification in the Neotropics. However, the role of other highland regions in the southern cone of South America has been barely studied. We analyzed the level of endemism in the avifauna of the Central Sierras in Córdoba, a high region in central Argentina, to evaluate the effect of its geographic isolation from the Andes. There are 11 species with endemic subspecies in this region, all of them described based only on differences in morphology (mainly plumage color) with no genetic evidence. We performed the first genetic analyses of seven of these species using mitochondrial DNA obtained from fresh tissue and toe pad samples. Our results show that for three of these species, Catamenia inornata , Phrygilus unicolor and Cinclodes atacamensis, the population in the Central Sierras is clearly differentiated from those of other regions, and the first two of them also show divergence among Andean subspecies. In the remaining species we found a varying degree of differentiation, ranging from a small divergence in Muscisaxicola rufivertex to the presence of different haplotypes but with an apparent lack of phylogeographic structure in Phrygilus plebejus and Sturnella loyca (being the latter the only species with a continuous distribution between the Central Sierras and the Andes) to haplotype sharing in Asthenes modesta. While further analyses including additional markers, morphological characters and vocalizations are needed, our results show that some of the species that have disjunct distributions, with a population in the Central Sierras isolated geographically from the Andes, possess distinct genetic lineages in the Central Sierras that suggest an evolutionary isolation from other populations. These findings highlight the importance of montane regions in general, and the Central Sierras in particular, as drivers of diversifi cation in the Neotropics.