Biogeographic origins of shorebirds with variable mating systems (#696)
Plovers exhibit great diversity in mating systems and plumage colouration, and our aim is to establish a phylogenetic framework to understand the selective forces that have shaped these behavioural and morphological traits over evolutionary time. The small plovers, genus Charadrius, are cosmopolitan shorebirds, distributed across all continents except Antarctica. Here we present a global, species-level molecular phylogeny of this group based on a Bayesian multispecies coalescent analysis of four nuclear (ADH5, FIB7, MYO2 and RAG1) and two mitochondrial (COI and ND3) genes, and use the phylogeny to examine the biogeographic origin of the genus. In contrast to earlier work, ancestral area analyses supported an origin of the Charadrius plovers in the Northern hemisphere. We propose that major radiations in this group were associated with shifts in the range of these ancestral plover species, leading to colonisation of the Southern hemisphere. With this phylogeny, we deliver the first tangible opportunity for tracking where and how mating systems have evolved in plovers.