Burg, Theresa

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    Pleistocene glacial cycles and physical barriers influence phylogeographic structure in Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), a widespread North American passerine
    (Canadian Science Publishing, 2018) Hindley, J.; Graham, Brendan A.; Burg, Theresa M.
    The nonmigratory Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus (Linnaeus, 1766)) has a continent-wide distribution extending across large parts of North America. To investigate the phylogeographic structure and verify possible refugia during the last glacial maximum, we sequenced a 678 bp region of the mitochondrial control region from 633 Black-capped Chickadees at 35 sites across North America and performed paleoecological distribution modeling. Two genetically distinct groups were found using multiple analyses: one in Newfoundland (Canada) and a widespread continental group, with additional substructure evident in western continental populations. While gene flow is low throughout the range, it is especially low in peripheral populations. The Newfoundland population has remained isolated from continental populations for at least 65 000 years and contains a number of fixed nucleotide differences. Within the continental populations, Black-capped Chickadees are subdivided into Pacific Coast, Alaska (USA), southeast Rockies, and main-northeast groups consistent with late Pleistocene vicariance events. Evidence of secondary contact was identified between Pacific and main-northeast populations in northwest British Columbia (Canada) and between southeast Rockies and main-northeast groups in Montana (USA). Paleoecological distribution modeling predicted suitable habitat in Alaska, off the coast of Newfoundland, and several locations across the southern United States during the last glacial maximum, whereas suitable habitat during the last interglacial was more similar to the contemporary distribution.
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    Cryptic genetic diversity and cytonuclear discordance characterize contact among Canada Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) morphotypes in western North America
    (Oxford Academic, 2021) Graham, Brendan A.; Cicero, Carla; Strickland, Dan; Woods, John G.; Coneybeare, Howard; Dohms, Kimberly M.; Szabo, Ildiko; Burg, Theresa M.
    Three distinct Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis) morphotypes with easily recognizable plumage traits come into contact in western North America. Recent work demonstrated high genetic structure across the species’ range; however, patterns of genetic variation in these contact zones remain unknown. We categorized 605 individuals into one of three morphotypes (Pacific, Rocky Mountain, and Boreal) based on plumage, and genotyped individuals at the mtDNA control region and 12 microsatellite loci to assess the extent of hybridization between morphotypes. Our data showed cryptic genetic diversity and high cytonuclear discordance among morphotypes within contact zones, which is likely the result of recent and historical admixture. The distributions of the Boreal and Pacific morphotypes each showed a strong association with a single, distinct genetic group, whereas the Rocky Mountain morphotype exhibited higher genetic diversity and was associated with multiple genotypes. Our analyses show the importance of considering both plumage and genetic traits when examining contact zones between closely related taxa. Finally the data presented in this study reaffirm that the Pacific morphotype is distinct from the Boreal and Rocky Mountain morphotypes based on genetic, phenotypic and ecological data, indicating that the Pacific morphotype should be re-elevated to a full species.
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    Do phylogeny and habitat influence admixture among four North American chickadee (family: Paridae) species?
    (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021) Graham, Brendan A.; Gazeley, Ian; Otter, Ken A.; Burg, Theresa M.
    Hybridization is an important aspect of speciation, yet questions remain about the ecological and environmental factors that influence hybridization among wild populations. We used microsatellite genotyping data and collected land cover and environmental data for four North American chickadee species: black-capped Poecile atricapillus, mountain P. gambeli, chestnut-backed P. rufescens and boreal P. hudsonicus chickadees. Combining these datasets, we sought to examine whether there is evidence of admixture between four widely distributed North American chickadee species; whether admixture takes place more often between more closely related species pairs or between species pairs with more similar ecological preferences; and whether certain habitat types have higher rates of admixture than others. We detected admixture for five of the six species pairs analyzed (chestnut-backed–mountain chickadee pair showed no evidence of admixture), and found rates of admixture varied geographically, and within taxa pairs. Admixture was higher among less closely related species than more closely related species, although habitat similarity was not a significant predictor. Finally, rates of admixture were higher in urban parkland habitats than deciduous, mixed or coniferous forest habitats. Our work indicates admixture occurs frequently among North American parids, and habitat and environmental variation may play an important role in the frequency and geographic distribution of hybridization.
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    Comparative phylogeographic analysis suggests a shared history among eastern North American boreal forest birds
    (Oxford Academic, 2021) Ralston, Joel; FitzGerald, Alyssa M.; Burg, Theresa M.; Starkloff, Naima C.; Warkentin, Ian G.; Kirchman, Jeremy J.
    Phylogeographic structure within high-latitude North American birds is likely shaped by a history of isolation in refugia during Pleistocene glaciations. Previous studies of individual species have come to diverse conclusions regarding the number and location of likely refugia, but no studies have explicitly tested for biogeographic concordance in a comparative phylogeographic framework. Here we use a hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences from 653 individuals of 6 bird species that are currently co-distributed in the boreal forest of North America to test for biogeographic congruence. We find support for congruent phylogeographic patterns across species, with shallow divergence dating to the Holocene within each species. Combining genetic results with paleodistribution modeling, we propose that these species shared a single Pleistocene refugium south of the ice sheets in eastern North America. Additionally, we assess modern geographic genetic structure within species, focusing on Newfoundland and disjunct high-elevation populations at the southern periphery of ranges. We find evidence for a “periphery effect” in some species with significant genetic structure among peripheral populations and between peripheral and central populations. Our results suggest that reduced gene flow among peripheral populations, rather than discordant biogeographic histories, can explain the small differences in genetic structure and levels of genetic diversity among co-distributed boreal forest birds
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    Introgression between Sphyrapicus nuchalis and S. varius sapsuckers in a hybrid zone in west-central Alberta
    (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021) Natola, Libby; Curtis, Ashley; Hudon, Jocelyn; Burg, Theresa M.
    Studying species interactions at hybrid zones allows biologists to understand the forces that promote speciation. Hybridization among Sphyrapicus nuchalis, S. varius and S. ruber has long been acknowledged, and hybrid zones between S. nuchalis/S. ruber and S. varius/S. ruber have been characterized with both genetic and genomic data. Using a combination of next-generation restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq) and traditional genetic methods, we examined patterns of introgression in the poorly characterized S. nuchalis/S. varius contact zone; the two most similar species in the complex, though they are not each other's closest relatives. We found high introgression rates, with several early and many advanced generation hybrids along a 275 km stretch of Rocky Mountain foothill, pointing to a well-established hybrid zone with hybrid individuals backcrossing with individuals from the parental species and each other. Plumage colouration in the hybrid zone was a relatively poor indicator of parental or hybrid status, which could be attributed to the possible involvement of few large effect genes.