DOI: 10.1101/489419Dec 9, 2018Paper

Macroevolutionary bursts and constraints generate a rainbow in a clade of tropical birds

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jon Treadwell MerwinGlenn F. Seeholzer


Background: Bird plumage exhibits a diversity of colors that serve functional roles ranging from signaling to camouflage and thermoregulation. However, birds must maintain a balance between evolving colorful signals to attract mates, minimizing conspicuousness to predators, and optimizing adaptation to climate conditions. Examining plumage color macroevolution provides a framework for understanding this dynamic interplay over phylogenetic scales. Plumage evolution due to a single overarching process, such as selection, may generate the same macroevolutionary pattern of color variation across all body regions. In contrast, independent processes may partition plumage into sections and produce region-specific patterns. To test these alternative scenarios, we collected color data from museum specimens of an ornate clade of birds, the Australasian lorikeets, using visible-light and UV-light photography, and comparative methods. We predicted that the diversification of homologous feather regions, i.e., patches, known to be involved in sexual signaling (e.g., face) would be less constrained than patches on the back and wings, where new color states may come at the cost of crypsis. Because environmental adaptation may drive evolution t...Continue Reading

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Physiologic Thermoregulation
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