Phylogeography of the southern skua complex – rapid colonisation of the southern hemisphere during a glacial period and reticulate evolution
Whilst we have now a good understanding how past glaciation influenced species at the northern hemisphere, our knowledge of patterns and modes of speciation is far more limited for the southern hemisphere. We provide mtDNA based data on the phylogeography of a circumpolar distributed southern hemisphere seabird group—the southern skua complex (Catharacta spp.). Diversification of southern skuas dates between 210,000 yBP and 150,000 yBP and coincides with a glacial spanning 230,000–140,000 yBP. Skuas most likely first inhabited the Antarctic continent, in the course of global cooling and increasing glaciation spread to the sub-antarctic islands and Tristan da Cunha and finally colonized Patagonia and the Falkland Islands at the glacial maximum. Despite significant differences between taxa most populations still exchange genes with neighboring populations of other taxa and speciation is incomplete.
Authors: Ritz, Markus S., Millar, Craig, Miller, Gary D., Phillips, Richard A., Ryan, Peter, Sternkopf, Viviane, Liebers-Helbig, Dorit, Peter, Hans-Ulrich