Per Alström

Per Alström
Uppsala University | UU · Department of Ecology and Genetics

37.82
 · 
Professor

About

251
Publications
55,128
Reads
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4,490
Citations
Introduction
My research concerns taxonomy and systematics and various evolutionary questions in birds, especially Asian passerines. More info and examples at: http://www.slu.se/per-alstrom-research http://www.slu.se/per-alstrom
Research Experience
March 2012 - July 2014
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Position
  • Visiting Professor
January 2007 - present
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Position
  • Taxonomist
November 2003 - December 2006
Swedish Museum of Natural History
Position
  • Curator of Ornithology / Senior Assistant to the Director of Science

Publications

Publications (251)
Article
Full-text available
The systematics of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea are reviewed, focusing on studies of relationships among families and within genera, more superficially on taxonomic studies at the species level. For the families Bernieridae and Phylloscopidae, new analyses based on already published sequence data are presented. Our understanding of relationship...
Article
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Generally, genotypes and phenotypes are expected to be spatially congruent, however, in widespread species complexes with few barriers to dispersal, multiple contact zones, and limited reproductive isolation, discordance between phenotypes and phylogeographic groups is more probable. Wagtails (Aves: Motacilla) are a genus of birds with striking plu...
Article
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Avian diversification has been influenced by global climate change, plate tectonic movements, and mass extinction events. However, the impact of these factors on the diversification of the hyperdiverse perching birds (passerines) is unclear because family level relationships are unresolved and the timing of splitting events among lineages is uncert...
Article
In the absence of nuclear-genomic differentiation between two populations, deep mitochondrial divergence (DMD) is a form of mito-nuclear discordance. Such instances of DMD are rare and might variably be explained by unusual cases of female-linked selection, by male-biased dispersal, by 'speciation reversal' or by mitochondrial capture through genet...
Article
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We re‐evaluated the taxonomy of the Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera‐Brown Prinia P. polychroa complex using molecular, morphological and vocal analyses. The extensive seasonal, sexual, age‐related, geographic, and taxon‐specific variation in this complex has never before been adequately studied. As no previous genetic or vocal analyses focused on...
Article
The Long-tailed Rosefinch Carpodacus sibiricus breeds in two widely disjunct areas in East Asia. Five subspecies are usually recognized. The plumage differences between different subspecies groups within C. sibiricus are notable, suggesting it may actually comprise more than one species. However, proper taxonomic assessment has not been carried out...
Article
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The taxonomy of the Lesser/Asian Short‐toed Lark Alaudala rufescens–cheleensis complex has been debated for decades, mainly because of minor morphological differentiation among the taxa within the complex, and different interpretations of the geographical pattern of morphological characters among different authors. In addition, there have been few...
Article
Aim The Pleistocene glacial cycles play a prominent role in shaping phylogeographical patterns of organisms, while few studies have focused on the regional difference of glacial effects. By acquiring comprehensive knowledge of the origin, diversification and historical demography of an intensively studied passerine species complex, Great Tit, we ai...
Article
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Aim Variation in species diversity among different geographical areas may result from differences in speciation and extinction rates, immigration and time for diversification. An area with high species diversity may be the result of a high net diversification rate, multiple immigration events from adjacent regions, and a long time available for the...
Article
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We present a revised taxonomy of Estrildidae based on the first time-calibrated phylogeny of the family Estrildidae estimated from a data set including the majority of the species, and all genera except the monospecific Paludipasser, using two mitochondrial and five nuclear markers. We find that most differences in current taxonomy reflect alternat...
Presentation
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Talk "Identification of Eastern vagrants to Britain" given at Birdfair, Rutland Water Aug 2019. Audio recording of talk is available at: https://britishbirds.co.uk/rspb-bb-birders-lecture/
Article
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In biological systems, biological diversity often displays a rapid turn-over across elevations. This defining feature has made mountains classic systems for studying the spatial variation in diversity. Because patterns of elevational diversity can vary among lineages and mountain systems it remains difficult to extrapolate findings from one montane...
Article
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We used the mitochondrial control region and ND2 and ATP8+6 genes (c. 2900 bp), an intron in the CHD1Z gene on the Z-chromosome (c. 550 bp) and non-molecular (mainly morphological) data to reconstruct the phylogeny of nearly all of the least-inclusive nominal taxa in the avian genus Motacilla (wagtails). All three data sets are incongruent, althoug...
Article
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Phylogeographic analyses of the genus Eremophila (Horned Lark E. alpestris and Temminck’s Lark E. bilopha) were carried out based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b and ND2 genes. Four primary lineages with para-/allopatric distributions were identified: (1) a Qinghai–Tibetan–Himalayan lineage; (2) a North African and Middle Eastern lineage; (3) a n...
Article
Diversification of avifaunas associated with savannah and steppes appear to correlate with open habitats becoming available as a result of the spreading of C4 grasses, starting in the Miocene. Few comparative analyses exist for families for which all species are predominantly adapted to these habitats. One such group is Laniidae (Passeriformes), wh...
Article
Taxa classified as subspecies may in fact be cryptic species. We assessed the taxonomic status of the Blue‐throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides complex in India, which consists of several forms with similar plumages and song. We used mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, plumage traits, and detailed song analysis to ascertain the taxonomic status of t...
Article
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Despite the ongoing taxonomic revolution incorporating multiple species delimitation methods, knowledge gaps persist in the taxonomy of comparatively well-studied animal groups such as birds. Morphologically cryptic species risk slipping under the conservation radar, as they get mistakenly united with other species. Here, we employed six to 11 voca...
Article
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Background: The White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana) is widespread from the central Himalayas to the southeast Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. Multiple subspecies are recog- nised, and several of these have recently been suggested to be treated as separate species based on differences in morphology...
Article
As species serve as basic units of study in many fields of biology, assessments of species limits are fundamental for such studies. Here, we used a multilocus dataset and different coalescent-based methods to analyze species delimitation and phylogenetic relationships in the Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler Horornis fortipes complex, which is widespre...
Article
DNA phylogenies have gradually shed light on the phylogenetic relationships of the large babbler group. We focus in this study on the family Leiothrichidae (laughingthrushes and “song babblers”), which represents the largest clade of babblers in terms of species diversity. Our phylogeny includes all genera and 82% of the recognized species, using m...
Article
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The widespread Old World avian family Locustellidae ('grassbirds and allies') comprises 62 extant species in 11 genera. In the present study, we used one mitochondrial and, for most species, four nuclear loci to infer the phylogeny of this family. We analysed 59 species, including the five previously unsampled genera plus two genera that had not be...
Article
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The leaf warbler radiation (Aves: Phylloscopidae) has undergone a c. 50% increase in the number of recognised species over the last three decades, mainly as a result of analyses of vocalisations and DNA. Using a multilocus dataset for all of the species in this family, and multispecies coalescent-based as well as concatenation methods, we provide t...
Presentation
Full-text available
identification of pipits in Indian Subcontinent. Available on YouTube (with songs and calls): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc5CgsfEDXs&t=13s
Presentation
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Identification of vagrant leaf warblers (Phylloscopus spp.) to Europe. Available on YouTube (with songs and calls): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA04atLT8i8&t=21s
Presentation
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This talk was given for the Dutch Birding Association in 2016, and presents some interesting and surprising results from studies of the evolution of passerine birds. The talk is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaBXqldwIQo
Article
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Previous studies have suggested that bird populations in East Asia were less affected by Pleistocene climatic fluctuations than those in Europe and North America. However, this is mainly based on comparisons among species. It would be more relevant to analyse geographical populations of widespread species or species complexes. We analyzed two mitoc...
Article
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Our objective was to elucidate the biogeography and speciation patterns in an entire avian family, which shows a complex pattern of overlapping and nonoverlapping geographical distributions, and much variation in plumage, but less in size and structure. We estimated the phylogeny and divergence times for all of the world's species of Prunella based...
Article
Aspects of bird song have been shown to correlate with morphological and ecological features, including beak and body size, and habitat. Here we study evolution of song length and song frequency among 30 species belonging to the Cettiidae. Frequency is negatively correlated with body size, and song length increases with latitude. Although migration...
Article
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Background: The Plain-backed Thrush Zoothera mollissima breeds in the Himalayas and mountains of central China. It was long considered conspecific with the Long-tailed Thrush Zoothera dixoni, until these were shown to be broadly sympatric. Methods: We revise the Z. mollissima-Z. dixoni complex by integrating morphological, acoustic, genetic (two mi...
Article
The relationships among Old World chats and flycatchers (Muscicapidae) have recently been clarified in two independent molecular phylogenetic studies (Sangster et al. 2010, Zuccon & Ericson 2010). Both studies recovered a well-supported clade of predominantly blue flycatchers of the genera Niltava, Cyornis, Eumyias and Cyanoptila, some species trad...
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The Rufous-headed Robin Larvivora ruficeps is one of the world's rarest and least known birds. We summarise the known records since it was first described in 1905 from Shaanxi Province, central China. All subsequent Chinese records are from seven adjacent localities in nearby Sichuan Province. We studied its phylogenetic position for the first time...
Article
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The phylogenetic relationships of the avian family Muscicapidae (Old World chats and flycatchers) have historically been enigmatic and remain an active area of study. Widespread instances of non-monophyly resulting from misleading morphological and behavioral similarities have merited numerous taxonomic revisions to the group. Here we report one su...
Article
Our knowledge of the systematics and taxonomy of Asian birds has improved much in the last two decades, and the number of recognised species has increased significantly as a result of in-depth studies using an integrative taxonomic approach. The Sino-Himalayan mountains harbor a high level of passerine diversity. Several allopatric or parapatric ta...
Article
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Niche segregation plays a critical role in the speciation process, but determining the extent to which taxa are geographically or ecologically isolated is challenging. In this study, we use stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N), hydrogen (δ2H) and oxygen (δ18O) to test for ecological differences among taxa in the Lesser Whitethroat Sylv...
Article
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The avian genus Calandrella (larks) was recently suggested to be non-monophyletic, and was divided into two genera, of which Calandrella sensu stricto comprises 4–5 species in Eurasia and Africa. We analysed mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) and nuclear Restriction-site Associated DNA (RAD) sequences from all species, and for cytb we studied 21 of...
Article
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The Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria is usually placed in a monotypic family or subfamily within the superfamily Certhioidea, with assumed close relationships to Certhia (treecreepers), Sitta (nuthatches) and Salpornis (spotted creepers). Previous studies have suggested that Tichodroma is most closely related to Sitta, alternatively to Salpornis. We...
Article
Aim: The location of zoogeographical boundaries in eastern China has long been the subject of debate. To identify any north/south genetic divergence between the Palaearctic and Sino-Japanese realms proposed by previous studies, we conducted a comparative phylogeographical study involving three passerine species with wide latitudinal distributions i...
Article
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The Russet Bush Warbler Locustella (previously Bradypterus) mandelli complex occurs in mountains in the eastern Himalayas, southern China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The taxonomy has been debated, with one (L. seebohmi) to four (L. seebohmi, L. mandelli, L. montis and L. timorensis) species having been recognised. We used an integrati...
Article
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The flycatcher genus Cyornis (Aves: Muscicapidae) comprises 25 species with Oriental distributions. Their relationships are poorly known. We analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of 70 individuals from 12 species and several subspecies of Cyornis based on three mitochondrial genes and five nuclear introns, with special focus on Chinese and Vietna...
Article
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We studied the phylogeography and population history of the White Wagtail Motacilla alba, which has a vast breeding range, covering areas with different Pleistocene climatic histories. The mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit II gene (ND2) and Control Region (CR) were analyzed for 273 individuals from 45 localities. Our data comprised all nine...
Article
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This study provides new distributional and morphological data for one of the world's most poorly known species, the Blackthroat Calliope obscura, which, until recently, was only known from fewer than ten museum specimens and a few field observations. Three previously mis-labelled male specimens collected during the breeding season at a presumed bre...
Article
The taxonomy of the Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina-Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia complex from East Asia has long been debated. Most authors recognize two species: F. narcissina, with the subspecies narcissina (most of Japan and Sakhalin Island), owstoni (south Japanese islands) and elisae (northeast China) and F. zanthopyg...
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Colonizations of islands are often associated with rapid morphological divergence. We present two previously unrecognized cases of dramatic morphological change and niche shifts in connection with colonization of tropical forest-covered islands. These evolutionary changes have concealed the fact that the passerine birds madanga, Madanga ruficollis,...
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Taxonomi & systematik – exempel från fåglarnas värld (del 2) Hur vet man vad som är en art? Är silltrut och gråtrut egentligen samma art, och hur många olika gulärlor finns det? Vad hände med våra mesar, varför hör de inte längre till samma släkte? Hur går indelningen i släkten, familjer och ordningar till? Är falkar verkligen närmare släkt med tät...
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To better determine the history of modern birds, we performed a genome-scale phylogenetic analysis of 48 species representing all orders of Neoaves using phylogenomic methods created to handle genome-scale data. We recovered a highly resolved tree that confirms previously controversial sister or close relationships. We identified the first divergen...
Article
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Birds are the most species-rich class of tetrapod vertebrates and have wide relevance across many research fields. We explored bird macroevolution using full genomes from 48 avian species representing all major extant clades. The avian genome is principally characterized by its constrained size, which predominantly arose because of lineage-specific...
Article
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Little has been published to describe or interpret Asian biodiversity hotspots, especially the East Himalaya – Mountains of Southwest China (H-MSC) range, thus making necessary a review based on the current knowledge. The Pliocene and Pleistocene geological and glacial histories of the Asian continent is different from those of Europe and North Ame...