Presenter Information

David Rach, Northwest College

Department

Biology Department

First Advisor

Eric C. Atkinson

Description

The family Calcariidae is a group of sparrow - like birds inhabiting grass - steppe habitats of North America. Mitochondri al DNA analysis has recently revealed that the Calcariidae is composed of two sub clades, with the McCown’s Longspur ( Rhynchophanes mccownii , formerly Calcarius mccownii ) more closely aligned to the Plectrophenax buntings in evolutionary descent than to t he Calcariidae longspurs as previously believed (Klicka et al. 2003). I took morphometric measurements from museum specimens (Northwest College, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Montana State University) of all the species in the family, ran a principal component analysis (PCA), analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). I found that hallux length and bill depth are inversely related, and therefore along with primary feather emargination, are the best indicators predictin g the two sub clades, supporting the mitochondrial DNA findings, overriding proximal effects of habitat selection.

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Morphological characteristics follow the mtDNA sequence of evolutionary descent within the family Calcariidae

The family Calcariidae is a group of sparrow - like birds inhabiting grass - steppe habitats of North America. Mitochondri al DNA analysis has recently revealed that the Calcariidae is composed of two sub clades, with the McCown’s Longspur ( Rhynchophanes mccownii , formerly Calcarius mccownii ) more closely aligned to the Plectrophenax buntings in evolutionary descent than to t he Calcariidae longspurs as previously believed (Klicka et al. 2003). I took morphometric measurements from museum specimens (Northwest College, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Montana State University) of all the species in the family, ran a principal component analysis (PCA), analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). I found that hallux length and bill depth are inversely related, and therefore along with primary feather emargination, are the best indicators predictin g the two sub clades, supporting the mitochondrial DNA findings, overriding proximal effects of habitat selection.