Rafe Brown's Lab homepage at the University of Kansas
ar Although there may be many Philippine vertebrate groups that eventually will be defined as adaptive radiations, the first one to formally be characterized as such are the frogs of the genus Kaloula. In a new paper just coming out at Evolution, Dave Blackburn and colleagues use a novel time calibrated phylogenetic estimate, comparative analyses of morphological characters, and new information from structural habitat specialization to understand diversification in these poorly known microhylids. More species rich than formerly thought, Philippine Kaloula are an ideal system for future studies of ecological and functional biology.
In a new paper now appearing in Molecular Ecology, Luke Welton and collaborators highlight a new system for integrative studies of species delimitation: Asian water monitor lizards of the Varanus salvator Complex. Our new multilocus perspective contradicts previous, purely morphological systematic arrangements, uncovers surprising relationships between island and mainland lineages, and reveals novel cryptic evolutionary lineages. Clearly not as simple as we thought, the Philippine V. salvator clade is ripe for a genomic approach using NGS data...
j In a recently published paper in Biological Conservation Luke Welton and colleagues provide the first molecular forencis study of the illegal reptile pet trade of a major metropolitan city in Asia. In addition to developing a new known-locality dataset for pin-pointing the geographic origins of Philippine water monitor lizards, the authors convincingly demonstrate that traders are able to obtain animals from throughout the country and that, when asked, they falsely report the animals' origins ~50% of the time, presumably in an effort to increase their perceived market value.
In a new paper appearing in Evolution Jamie Oaks and collaborators test the hypothesis of simultaneous, sea level oscillation-driven divergence among 22 pairs of populations across an island archipelago. Empirical results strongly support simultaneous divergence but power analyses reveal a bias towards clustered events in a popular program that uses Approximate Bayesian Computation. The authors recommend power analyses accompany ABC model selection to explore prior sensitivity before strong conclusions are made.
p In a recent publication in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Rafe and colleagues estimated the first molecular phylogeny for flying geckos of the genus Ptychozoon. Aside from elucidating the evolutionary history of, well, frankly, the coolest geckos in the world, their results indicate that the widespread species P. kuhli (which they subjected to coalescent-based species delimitation analyses) is most likely composed of between five and nine undescribed "cryptic" species.

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