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Fionn Ó Marcaigh

Evolutionary divergence of passerine populations in the Islands of South-east Sulawesi

Ongoing at Trinity College Dublin

Location: Indonesia

Interest: Birds

I am interested in the evolutionary divergence of populations and the factors that isolate populations from each other. My PhD investigates these subjects using passerine birds from Indonesian islands as study species. This research touches on island biogeography, population genetics, phylogenetics, and evolutionary ecology.

The extremely biodiverse region of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has been at the forefront of the study of biogeography since the days of Alfred Russell Wallace. This archipelago, populated as it is with fascinating endemic species, still has much to tell us about how new species evolve. Here, islands of different sizes and shapes, geological histories, and habitats, are home to an array of bird species with a complex history of dispersal and speciation.

I am working with a large library of existing feather samples, morphological data, and song recordings collected in the region on previous expeditions, hoping to clarify the phylogenies of these birds and, from that, the connections between physical habitat, behaviour, isolation, and speciation.

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