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The Nanling Mountains of southcentral China played a variable role as a barrier and refuge for birds depending upon landscape structure and timing of events
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  • Zhengzhen Wang,
  • Min Zhang,
  • Xuebing Zhao,
  • Jiami Xie,
  • Yougui Peng,
  • F. H. Sheldon,
  • Fasheng Zou
Zhengzhen Wang
Guangdong Academy of Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Min Zhang
Guangdong Academy of Sciences
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Xuebing Zhao
Yunnan University
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Jiami Xie
South China Agricultural University
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Yougui Peng
South China Agricultural University
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F. H. Sheldon
Louisiana State University
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Fasheng Zou
Guangdong Academy of Sciences
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The Nanling Mountains are an important mountain range and watershed in southcentral China. Because of the abundance in relictual plant species and geological stability throughout the Cenozoic, the mountains are considered a “museum” of subtropical biological diversity. With respect to birds, however, the roles of the Nanling Mountains in impeding the dispersal of the subtropical birds and, as a result, shaping their population and community structures have received little consideration. To examine these roles, we compiled and analyzed two datasets. (1) To test the mountains’ influence on gene flow, we undertook a population phylogeographic study comparing mitochondrial COI and Cytb DNA sequences of 5 sylvioid resident bird species of the mountains (Huet’s Fulvetta Alcippe hueti, Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Pterorhinus pectoralis, Indochinese Yuhina Staphida torqueola, and Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii). (2) To examine differentiated community development over the history of modern birds, we examined distributional data of all species of the Nanling region using public species occurrence records. For part (1), we sampled 327 individuals from 36 sites and conducted correlation analysis of genetic and geographic distances, taking into account the landscape of the mountains. We found that the mountains do not seriously impede gene flow among populations but influenced species differently. For part (2), comparative analysis of 446 species in 81 families indicated that family membership influenced the community composition of birds in Nanling region. Variation in family distributions is attributable to both environmental and evolutionary factors. Overall, we found that the Nanling Mountains are not currently a substantial barrier to gene flow among the species we studied but act as a corridor and refuge for these birds. However, analyses on higher ranked community data suggest the mountains acted as a barrier in older times, corresponding to the known diversification events in southeast Asian avifauna.
05 Feb 2023Submitted to Journal of Avian Biology
06 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
06 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
06 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Feb 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
04 Apr 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
02 Jun 20231st Revision Received
05 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
05 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
05 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Nov 20232nd Revision Received
01 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
01 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
01 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Accept