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Inter- and intra-archipelago dynamics of population structure and gene flow in a Polynesian bird  

Cite this dataset

Gyllenhaal, Ethan et al. (2021). Inter- and intra-archipelago dynamics of population structure and gene flow in a Polynesian bird   [Dataset]. Dryad.


Islands are separated by natural barriers that prevent gene flow between terrestrial populations and promote allopatric diversification. Birds in the South Pacific are an excellent model to explore the interplay between isolation and gene flow due to the region’s numerous archipelagos and well-characterized avian communities. The wattled honeyeater complex (Foulehaio spp.) comprises three allopatric species that are widespread and common across Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Wallis and Futuna. Here, we explored patterns of diversification within and among these lineages using genomic and morphometric data. We found support for three clades of Foulehaio corresponding to three recognized species. Within F. carunculatus, population genetic analyses identified nine major lineages, most of which were composed of sub-lineages that aligned nearly perfectly to individual island populations. Despite genetic structure and great geographic distance between populations, we found low levels of gene flow between populations in adjacent archipelagos. Additionally, body size of F. carunculatus varied randomly with respect to evolutionary history (as Ernst Mayr predicted), but correlated negatively with island size, consistent with the island rule. Our findings support a hypothesis that widespread taxa can show population structure between immediately adjacent islands, and likely represent many independent lineages loosely connected by gene flow.


The data was collected using Illumina sequence of libraries enriched for tetrapod ultraconserved elements. It was then processed using common pipelines for the data (namely phyluce and a variant of seqcap_pop) before input files were generated for population genomic analyses.

Usage notes

The descriptions for all files can be found in "README.txt". Each category of file (script, morphometric data, pop gen input, and phylogenetic tree files) has it's own zipped folder.


National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1650114

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1557051

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1557053