Prof. Knud Andreas Jønsson (Head of Division of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History)
The island of New Guinea lies just south of the equator, covers an area of 821,000 km2, and comprises seven geologically distinct lowland basins, a central mountain range (running the majority of the NW to SE axis of the island), and ten smaller outlying mountain ranges to the north and northwest. Together these areas represent an archipelagic microcosm of the world’s tropical and temperate environments, encompassing a vast mosaic of habitats and climates from sweltering tropical rainforests, to permanently frozen barren mountaintops. New Guinea is rich in endemic taxa for a wide variety of organismal groups, and covers a large enough area that a significant proportion of the avifauna has formed via in situ speciation. Based on recent work drawing on genetic, morphological and distributional data, I will discuss how the passerine avifauna (336 species) has formed in space and through time on New Guinea. The work covers various spatial scales and also includes detailed population-level analyses of select species. Finally, I will briefly touch upon how these new findings affect our understanding of biogeography and biotic assembly across the Indo-Pacific islands.