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Opening the door to greater phylogeographic inference in Southeast Asia

Picture of a Little Spiderhunter, one of the species featured in Lim's research
Picture of a Little Spiderhunter, one of the species featured in Lim's research

South East Asia is one of the great storehouses of the world’s terrestrial biological diversity. Despite this, we still know little about the biogeographic and historical processes that generate and maintain this diversity. One of the causes of this is the relative paucity of modern museum and genetic samples from across the region. Without them, we cannot use phylogenetic and population genetic methods to reconstruct the process of species diversification.

To overcome this, I applied advanced molecular genetics techniques to extract and sequence DNA of museum study specimens of five species of birds, specimens that were collected from throughout the region since around 200 years ago. The lab and bioinformatics techniques used allowed us to obtain information from thousands of genomic markers for each species, which made estimation of population structures and evolutionary histories highly precise. This research represents a significant contribution to our current understanding of the drivers that shape genetic diversity of tropical bird species.


To read more about my research, check out my new article on Wiley.