Drivers of phylogenetic assemblage structure of the furnariides, a widespread clade of lowland neotropical birds

Jesus N Pinto Ledezma, Alex E. Jahn, Víctor R. Cueto, José Alexandre F. Diniz-Filho, Fabricio Villalobos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Species co-occurrence in local assemblages is shaped by distinct processes at different spatial and temporal scales. Here we focus on historical explanations and examine the phylogenetic structure of local assemblages of the Furnariides clade (Aves: Passeri-formes), assessing the influence of diversification rates on the assembly and species co-occurrence within those assemblages. Using 120 local assemblages across Bolivia and Argentina and a nearly complete phylogeny for the clade, we analyzed assemblage phylogenetic structure, applying a recently developed model (DAMOCLES, or dynamic assembly model of colonization, local extinction, and specia-tion) accounting for the historical processes of speciation, colonization, and local extinction. We also evaluated how diversification rates determine species co-occurrence. We found that the assembly of Furnariides assemblages can be explained largely by speciation, colonization, and local extinction without invoking current local species interactions. Phylogenetic structure of open habitat assemblages mainly showed clustering, characterized by faster rates of colonization and local extinction than in forest habitats, whereas forest habitat assemblages were congruent with the model’s equal rates expectation, thus highlighting the influence of habitat preferences on assembly and co-occurrence patterns. Our results suggest that historical processes are sufficient to explain local assemblage phylogenetic structure, while there is little evidence for species ecological interactions in avian assemblage diversity and composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number#58049
Pages (from-to)E41-E56
JournalThe American naturalist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Assembly processes
  • Community phylogenetics
  • Historical processes
  • Passerine birds
  • Species assemblage

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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