Cape Robin-chats & Biome Structure in Southern Africa

Cape Robin-chats (Cossypha caffra) are found throughout southern Africa, and are generalist species found in most aridland biomes. We used genetic information (highly informative msats and mitochondrial sequence) to disentangle the effects of contemporary and historical biome structure on population structure using landscape genetic and demographic inference in combination with environmental niche models. We found that the stability of aridland biomes over time explains patterns of observed genetic diversity within these birds, and also found evidence suggesting that the relatively recent establishment of households across the very arid Nama Karoo biome has likely facilitated gene flow between formerly isolated populations from the western grasslands and savanna and populations from the eastern and southern Fynbos. To find out more, here is a link to this open access paper.

G.O.U. Wogan, G. Voelker, G. Oatley, and R. C. K. Bowie. 2020. Biome Stability Predicts Population Structure of a Southern African Aridland Bird Species. Ecology and Evolution.