Understanding current patterns of diversity and distribution: How and when did Himalayan faunal elements evolve? DFG number 427877022
The uplift of the Himalaya-Tibet Orogen (HTO) has significantly influenced the global climate and due to its massive elevations and river incisions it likely played an important role as a speciation pump. However, our understanding of the historical biogeography of species in the HTO is far from being comprehensive, as are details of the spatiotemporal evolution of its uplift. The Himalaya plays a key role in elucidating these processes. Results from preliminary work, based on molecular data from amphibians, provide initial indications for a Paleo-Tibetan origin of Himalayan faunal components, challenging the long-held belief of immigration from China-Indochina into the Himalaya. Yet, a comprehensive phylogeographic approach is needed, requiring a systematic sampling from biogeographically important regions and an extended analytical framework to pinpoint patterns of diversification in the Himalaya and adjacent regions and to uncover the relative contribution of in-situ speciation versus colonisation in the HTO. Within the project, four carefully chosen terrestrial model systems (spiny frogs, lazy toads, the Himalayan toad and ground skinks) will be used, that are sufficiently phylogenetically old and cover a range of different dispersal abilities and ecological preferences. Using cutting-edge targeted exon capture technology in combination with next generation DNA sequencing and state of the art phylogenetic analysis alternative phylogeographic hypotheses will be tested (immigration, vicariance, out-of-Tibet, Paleo-Tibetan origin) and divergence times estimated. The following objectives are pursued with the study: i) Detailed phylogenetic inventory in areas along the southern slope of the Himalaya and surrounding mountain areas; ii) Reconstructing diversification/colonisation pattern; iii) Providing biological evidences for the time of (primary) uplifts of HTO components.
collaboration project (Philipps University Marburg): DFG research unit 2358 | The Mountain Exile Hypothesis: How humans benefited from and re-shaped African high altitude ecosystems during Quaternary climate changes – C1/C2 Core project, scientific services and synthesis
The main objectives are (i) the provisioning of scientific data management services and the production of remote sensing and model-based master data sets requested by the subprojects, (ii) the linking of ancient DNA analyses with other environmental history proxies, (iii) the support of genetic and genomic investigations including bioinformatics for subprojects P1-P4, P7, and (iv) the overall synthesis of the research results of the research group. The scientific data services will be extended by the extensive entomological data and recordings collected in P7, including digital 3D models of the species. Ground radar observations are used to map the structure of the Giant Molerats (link to P4). Machine learning techniques are used to provide area-related data sets. All data sets will be transferred to long-term databases to ensure data availability after the end of the research group. The world’s earliest evidence of human alpine colonisation in cave geo-archives in Phase 1 opens an enormous potential for further genome analysis of ancient and environmental DNA, for (i) direct evidence of Mesolithic hunters, (ii) contributions to human migration history and adaptation in Northeast Africa, (iii) higher taxonomic resolution for the analysis of plant and animal remains, and (iv) insights into the population genetic history of Giant Molerats as a landscape engineer and thus key species in the Bale Mountain ecosystem and as an important food resource for MSA hunters. Finally, C2 will lead the cross-research group synthesis.