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Within-island diversification in a passerine bird

Cite this dataset

Gabrielli, Maëva et al. (2020). Within-island diversification in a passerine bird [Dataset]. Dryad.


The presence of congeneric taxa on the same island suggests the possibility of in situ divergence, but can also result from multiple colonizations of previously diverged lineages. Here, using genome-wide data from a large population sample, we test the hypothesis that intra-island divergence explains the occurrence of four geographic forms meeting at hybrid zones in the Reunion grey white-eye (Zosterops borbonicus), a species complex endemic to the small volcanic island of Reunion. Using population genomic and phylogenetic analyses, we reconstructed the population history of the different forms. We confirmed the monophyly of the complex and found that one of the lowland forms is paraphyletic and basal relative to others, a pattern highly consistent with in situ divergence. Our results suggest initial colonization of the island through the lowlands, followed by expansion into the highlands, which led to the evolution of a distinct geographical form, genetically and ecologically different from the lowland ones. Lowland forms seem to have experienced periods of geographical isolation, but they diverged from one another by sexual selection rather than niche change. Overall, low dispersal capabilities in this island bird combined with both geographical and ecological opportunities seem to explain how divergence occurred at such a small spatial scale.


SNP dataset from genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) of 372 individuals representing all Reunion grey white-eye geographic forms (316 individuals) and three closely related species. This vcf file that was generated by GATK v. 3.7. See methods and electronic supplementary material, text S2 for details about the generation of this dataset.

Usage notes

Correspondence between individual names, species and sampling site can be found in: infos_ind_species_loc_GBS_MS_in_situ.csv


French Development Agency

Laboratoire d’Excellence TULIP, Award: ANR-10-LABX-41

Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Award: BirdIslandGenomic project, ANR-14-CE02-0002

French Foundation for Biodiversity Research

National Geographic Society

Fondation de France, Award: Fonds Inkermann