Taxonomy based on limited genomic markers may underestimate species diversity of rockhopper penguins and threaten their conservation

Delimiting recently diverged species is challenging. During speciation, genetic differentiation may be distributed unevenly across the genome, as different genomic regions can be subject to different selective pressures and evolutionary histories. Reliance on limited numbers of genetic markers that may be underpowered can make species delimitation even more challenging, potentially resulting in taxonomic inconsistencies. Rockhopper penguins of the genus Eudyptes comprise three broadly recognized taxa: northern (E. moseleyi), southern (E. chrysocome) and eastern rockhopper (E. filholi). Their taxonomic status has been controversial for decades, with researchers disagreeing about whether E. chrysocome and E. filholi are distinct species or conspecific. Our goal is to evaluate genome-wide patterns of divergence to evaluate genetic differentiation and species delimitation in rockhopper penguins, and to assess which mechanisms may underlie previous discordance among nuclear versus mitochondrial analyses.


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Authors: Frugone, María José, Cole, Theresa L., López, María Eugenia, Clucas, Gemma, Matos‐Maraví, Pável, Lois, Nicolás A., Pistorius, Pierre, Bonadonna, Francesco, Trathan, Phil ORCIDORCID record for Phil Trathan, Polanowski, Andrea, Wienecke, Barbara, Raya‐Rey, Andrea, Pütz, Klemens, Steinfurth, Antje, Bi, Ke, Wang‐Claypool, Cynthia Y., Waters, Jonathan M., Bowie, Rauri C.K., Poulin, Elie, Vianna, Juliana A., Blakeslee, April

On this site: Philip Trathan
1 November, 2021
Diversity and Distributions / 27
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