Juan Carlos Illera

Juan Carlos Illera
University of Oviedo | UNIOVI · Joint Research Unit for Biodiversity (UMIB)

Biology

About

290
Publications
17,873
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,911
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2010 - May 2015
University of Oviedo
Position
  • Ramón y Cajal Fellowship
September 2005 - August 2007
University of East Anglia
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (290)
Article
Avian seed dispersers are mostly identified by direct observations of fruit consumption or by analysis of seeds ejected by mist-netted birds. However, these methods typically require many fieldwork days to provide initial insight into which bird species disperse the seeds of a plant species or community of interest. Here, we highlight the advantage...
Article
Full-text available
Timing is essential for survival and reproduction of organisms across the tree of life. The core circadian clock gene Clk is involved in the regulation of annual timing events and shows highly conserved sequence homology across vertebrates except for one variable region of poly-glutamine repeats. Clk genotype varies in some species with latitude, s...
Article
Understanding the mechanisms and genes that enable animal populations to adapt to pathogens is important from an evolutionary, health and conservation perspective. Berthelot’s pipit (Anthus berthelotii) experiences extensive and consistent spatial heterogeneity in avian pox infection pressure across its range of island populations, thus providing a...
Article
Full-text available
Las pomaradas de sidra de Asturias son cultivos no intensivos capaces de albergar una fauna rica y abundante, con potencial para proporcionar relevantes servicios ecosistémicos como el control biológico de plagas. En este artículo, resumimos nuestras investigaciones sobre sus aves insectívoras e identificamos acciones de gestión agroambiental para...
Article
Research on seed-dispersal mutualisms has been highly unbalanced towards the plants, largely overlooking the fitness effects of fruit resources on frugivorous animals. Moreover, despite morphological mismatches like gape limitation may reduce the abundance of fruits that are actually accessible to a frugivore species, there is very little evidence...
Preprint
Full-text available
Timing is essential for survival and reproduction of organisms across the tree of life. The core circadian clock gene Clk has been implicated in annual timing and shows highly conserved sequence homology across vertebrates except for one variable region of poly Glutamine repeats. Clk genotype varies in some species with latitude, seasonal timing an...
Preprint
Full-text available
The patterns of genetic relatedness among individuals vary along the genome, representing fluctuation of local ancestry. The factors responsible for this variation have not been well studied in wild animals with ecological and behavioural relevance. Here, we characterise the genomic architecture of genetic relatedness in the Eurasian blackcap, an i...
Preprint
Understanding the mechanisms and genes that enable animal populations to adapt to pathogens is important from an evolutionary, health and conservation perspective. Berthelot’s pipit ( Anthus berthelotii ) experiences extensive and consistent spatial heterogeneity in avian pox infection pressure across its range of island populations, thus providing...
Preprint
Full-text available
Shared ecological conditions encountered by species that colonize islands often lead to the evolution of convergent phenotypes, commonly referred to as "island syndrome". Reduced immune functions have been previously proposed to be part of the island syndrome, as a consequence of the reduced diversity of pathogens on island ecosystems. According to...
Article
Full-text available
Oceanic archipelagos are excellent systems for studying speciation, yet inference of evolutionary process requires that the colonization history of island organisms be known with accuracy. Here, we used phylogenomics and patterns of genetic diversity to infer the sequence and timing of colonization of Macaronesia by mainland common chaffinches (Fri...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is forcing the redistribution of life on Earth at an unprecedented velocity1,2. Migratory birds are thought to help plants to track climate change through long-distance seed dispersal3,4. However, seeds may be consistently dispersed towards cooler or warmer latitudes depending on whether the fruiting period of a plant species coincid...
Article
Calcified tissues have repeatedly evolved in many animal lineages and show a tremendous diversity of forms and functions. The cuticle of many insects is enriched with elements other than Calcium, a strategy of hardening that is taxonomically widespread but apparently poorly variable among clades. Here, we investigate the evolutionary potential of t...
Article
Full-text available
Oceanic island archipelagos provide excellent models to understand evolutionary processes. Colonization events and gene flow can interact with selection to shape genetic variation at different spatial scales. Landscape-scale variation in biotic and abiotic factors may drive fine-scale selection within islands, while long-term evolutionary processes...
Article
Due to their limited ranges and inherent isolation, island species have long been recognized as crucial systems for tackling a range of evolutionary questions, including in the early study of speciation.¹,² Such species have been less studied in the understanding of the evolutionary forces driving DNA sequence evolution. Island species usually have...
Article
The taxonomy of Procellariiformes, particularly petrels and shearwaters, is still unresolved. The Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus is one of the best studied seabirds worldwide. Most of the information known on this seabird is focused on the northern core populations where the species is abundant. However, the species shows a high number of periph...
Article
Full-text available
The Canary Islands are characterised by an outstanding level of biodiversity with a high number of endemic taxa. The Canarian avifauna is no exception and six extant avian species are recognised as endemic. However, we have a limited understanding of the genetic structure of these taxa, which makes it difficult to identify conservation priorities b...
Article
Full-text available
Nuthatches of the Holarctic and partly Indo-Malayan genus Sitta have been subject to a number of phylogenetic analyses; however, the most complete phylogenetic hypothesis to date missed several Asian species-level taxa, was based on a limited sampling, and included only one sample per species. Other recent studies were mainly focused on phylogeogra...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal migration is a taxonomically widespread behaviour that integrates across many traits. The European blackcap exhibits enormous variation in migration and is renowned for research on its evolution and genetic basis. We assembled a reference genome for blackcaps and obtained whole genome resequencing data from individuals across its breeding...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal migration is a taxonomically widespread behaviour that integrates across many traits. The European blackcap exhibits enormous variation in migration and is renowned for research on its evolution and genetic basis. We assembled a reference genome for blackcaps and obtained whole genome resequencing data from individuals across its breeding...
Preprint
Full-text available
Due to their limited ranges and inherent isolation, island species provide a unique opportunity to study the impact of non-adaptive forces on molecular evolution, especially how effective population size may influence the accumulation of deleterious mutations. By estimating nucleotide diversity at synonymous and non-synonymous sites for a large set...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal migration is a taxonomically widespread behaviour that integrates across many traits. The European blackcap exhibits enormous variation in migration and is renowned for research on its evolution and genetic basis. We assembled a reference genome for blackcaps and obtained whole genome resequencing data from individuals across its breeding...
Article
Full-text available
The Mediterranean Basin represents a Global Biodiversity Hotspot where many organisms show high inter- and intraspecific differentiation. Extant phylogeographic patterns of terrestrial circum-Mediterranean faunas were mainly shaped through Pleistocene range shifts and range fragmentations due to retreat into different glacial refugia. Thus, several...
Article
Full-text available
Colonization, speciation and extinction are dynamic processes that influence global patterns of species richness1–6. Island biogeography theory predicts that the contribution of these processes to the accumulation of species diversity depends on the area and isolation of the island7,8. Notably, there has been no robust global test of this predictio...
Article
Full-text available
The location of the high mountains of southern Europe has been crucial in the phylogeography of most European species, but how extrinsic (topography of sky islands) and intrinsic features (dispersal dynamics) have interacted to shape the genetic structure in alpine restricted species is still poorly known. Here we investigated the mechanisms explai...
Article
Aim Analysing the drivers of intraspecific variation and how reproductive barriers arise is an essential step to infer the mechanisms of biogeographic differentiation. In populations of a specialized alpine species, we explore the role of geography and climate in the divergence of genetic, morphological and acoustic characters, and analyse the func...
Article
Full-text available
Telomeres have emerged as important biomarkers of health and senescence as they predict chances of survival in various species. Tropical birds live in more benign environments with lower extrinsic mortality and higher juvenile and adult survival than temperate birds. Therefore, telomere biology may play a more important role in tropical compared to...
Article
Full-text available
García-del-Rey, E. 2018. Birds of the Canary Islands. Christopher Helm. Londres. 192 p. ISBN 9781472941558. Todavía recuerdo mi primer encuentro con la avifauna canaria. Me impresionó sobre-manera lo diferentes que podían ser las po-blaciones de aves de la misma especie según vivieran en la península Ibérica o en Cana-rias. Podría decir que cuando...
Article
The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is the extant avian species with the highest level of differentiation across North Atlantic archipelagos. Such a degree of diversification has been traditionally recognised within the subspecies category, with one endemic subspecies occurring in Azores (F. c. moreletti), one in Madeira (F. c. maderensis), an...
Presentation
Full-text available
Es de gran importancia entender cuáles son los procesos ecológicos y evolutivos que afectan la presencia de parásitos en gradientes ambientales. Sin embargo, aunque existen estudios de este tipo, la mayoría se desarrollan en las zonas templadas, y en cambio en el Neotrópico donde hay una mayor heterogeneidad ambiental en distancias más cortas, hay...
Article
Full-text available
Individual variability in animal movement behaviour is well documented for many species. However, it remains unclear whether this variability reflects genetic variation, environmental variation or a combination of the two. Here, we conduct a cross-fostering experiment with the aim of investigating the role of these two components in movement patter...
Article
Full-text available
Mountains are well-suited systems to disentangle the factors driving distribution of parasites due to their heterogeneity of climatic and habitat conditions. However, the information about the relative importance of environmental factors governing the distribution of avian haemosporidians on temperate mountains is very limited. The main goal of the...
Data
Sierra Nevada PLS results. Partial Least Squares regression results for Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon prevalence and richness analyses performed for Sierra Nevada. Weights of predictors (independent variables) are related to prevalence and richness (dependent variables) for each parasite genera. Values found to contribute significantly...
Data
Combined PLS results. Partial Least Squares regression results for Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon prevalence and richness analyses performed with the pooled analysis (Sierra Nevada and Picos de Europa). Weights of predictors (independent variables) are related to prevalence and richness (dependent variables) for each parasite genera. Va...
Data
Basic information on localities studied. Geographical information, habitat type, annual mean temperature (BIO1), annual precipitation (BIO12), and altitude of each locality studied on Sierra Nevada and Picos de Europa. N: number of birds analysed. (DOCX)
Data
Picos de Europa PLS results. Partial Least Squares regression results for Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon prevalence and richness analyses performed for Picos de Europa. Weights of predictors (independent variables) are related to prevalence and richness (dependent variables) for each parasite genera. Values found to contribute significa...
Article
Full-text available
Background Latitudinal variation in avian life histories falls along a slow-fast pace of life continuum: tropical species produce small clutches, but have a high survival probability, while in temperate species the opposite pattern is found. This study investigated whether differential investment into reproduction and survival of tropical and tempe...
Article
Half a century ago, MacArthur and Wilson proposed that the number of species on islands tends toward a dynamic equilibrium diversity around which species richness fluctuates [1]. The current prevailing view in island biogeography accepts the fundamentals of MacArthur and Wilson’s theory [2] but questions whether their prediction of equilibrium can...
Article
Aim: We analyse when and why closely related species start to coexist in sympatry at the range (continental) scale, and in syntopy at the local (community) scale. We contrast the idea that limiting similarity and time constrain the transition to sympatry of sister lineages after their initial allopatric split, with the hypothesis of ecological conv...
Article
Comparative studies of closely related taxa can provide insights into the evolutionary forces that shape genome evolution and the prevalence of convergent molecular evolution. We investigated patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in stonechats (genus Saxicola), a widely distributed avian species complex with phenotypic variation in plum...
Article
Full-text available
Background Testosterone facilitates physiological, morphological, and behavioral changes required for breeding in male vertebrates. However, testosterone concentrations and the link between its seasonal changes and those in reproductive behaviors vary greatly among species. To better understand the impact of tropical and temperate environments and...
Article
Understanding how different ecological and evolutionary processes influence the distribution of pathogens within the environment is important from many perspectives including wildlife epidemiology, evolutionary ecology and conservation. The simultaneous use of ecological and evolutionary frameworks can enhance our conceptual understanding of host-p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Comparative studies of genomic differentiation among independent lineages can provide insights into aspects of the speciation process, such as the relative importance of selection and drift in shaping genomic landscapes, the role of genomic regions of high differentiation, and the prevalence of convergent molecular evolution. We investigated patter...
Article
Full-text available
Oceanic islands are excellent systems for allowing biologists to test evolutionary hypotheses due to their relative simplicity of habitats, naturally replicated study design and high levels of endemic taxa with conspicuous variation in form, colour and behaviour. Over the last two decades the Canary Islands archipelago has proved an ideal system fo...
Article
The fit between life histories and ecological niche is a paradigm of phenotypic evolution, also widely used to explain patterns of species co-occurrence. By analysing the lifestyles of a sympatric avian assemblage, we show that species’ solutions to environmental problems are not unbound. We identify a life-history continuum structured on the cost...
Data
Figs S6–S10 Networks of TLR haplotypes found in populations of Berthelot's pipits (Yellow: Canary Islands, Blue: Selvagens, Green: Madeira) and in tawny pipits (white circles). Each circle represents one haplotype. Connections between circles denote the number of nucleotide substitutions needed to change from one haplotype to another. Nonsynonymous...
Data
Appendix S1 Methodology for obtaining sequences of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI). Table S1 Number of individuals screened per island at each TLR locus. Table S2 Variation at the exons encoding the extracellular domains of five toll‐like receptor genes in Berthelot's pipit (Anthus berthelotii). Table S3 Haplotypes identified at the five TLR...
Data
Figs S1–S5 Maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees of haplotypes at five TLR loci in five bird species: Came = house finch, Carpodacus mexicanus; Peau = New Zealand robin, Petroica australis rakiura; Fana = Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni; Anbe = Berthelot's pipit, Anthus berthelotii, and Anca = tawny pipit, Anthus campestris. Figure S1 = TLR1LA, S2 =...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the relative role of different evolutionary forces in shaping the level and distribution of functional genetic diversity among natural populations is a key issue in evolutionary and conservation biology. To do so accurately genetic data must be analyzed in conjunction with an unambiguous understanding of the historical processes that...
Article
AimUnderstanding the reasons why hosts lose, maintain or swap their parasite burden after colonizing new areas has long intrigued island biogeographers. Using molecular markers, we evaluated parasite biogeography of a multiple parasite system of Apicomplexa protozoans (haemosporidian and coccidian parasites) showing different modes of transmission...
Article
Isolated islands and their often unique biota continue to play key roles for understanding the importance of drift, genetic variation, and adaptation in the process of population differentiation and speciation. One island system that has inspired and intrigued evolutionary biologists is the blue tit complex (Cyanistes spp.) in Europe and Africa, in...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem functioning depends on nutrient cycles and their responses to abiotic and biotic determinants, with the influence of evolutionary legacies being generally overlooked in ecosystem ecology. Along a broad elevation gradient characterized by shifting climatic and grazing environments, we addressed clines of plant N and C : N content and of d1...
Data
Appendix S1.Eight microsatellite loci amplified in southern grey shrike (Lanius meridionalis koenigi) populations from the Canary Islands (references in bibliography of main text). Appendix S2. Cytochrome b sequences used in the present study. Appendix S3. Bayesian consensus tree based on mtDNA cytochrome b. Numbers are Bayesian posterior probabili...
Article
Full-text available
Studying the population history and demography of organisms with important ecological roles can aid understanding of evolutionary processes at the community level and inform conservation. We screened genetic variation (mtDNA and microsatellite) across the populations of the southern grey shrike (Lanius meridionalis koenigi) in the Canary Islands, w...
Article
Full-text available
We characterized 28 unique African stonechat (Saxicola torquata) microsatellite loci. Seventeen loci characterized in 24 unrelated Saxicola torquata axillaris individuals sampled at Mount Meru, Tanzania displayed 2–26 alleles per locus and observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.29 to 0.92. Heterozygous females and sequence similarity suggested all...
Article
Songbirds with recently (i.e. early Holocene) founded populations are suitable models for studying incipient differentiation in oceanic islands. On such systems each colonization event represents a different evolutionary episode that can be studied by addressing sets of diverging phenotypic and genetic traits. We investigate the process of early di...