Climate-mediated movement of an avian hybrid zone

Taylor, Scott A.; White, Thomas; Hochachka, Wesley M.; Ferretti, Valentina; Curry, Robert L.; Lovette, Irby (2014). Climate-mediated movement of an avian hybrid zone. Current Biology, 24(6), pp. 671-676. Cell Press 10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.069

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The interaction between sibling species that share a zone of contact is a multifaceted relationship affected by climate change [ 1, 2 ]. Between sibling species, interactions may occur at whole-organism (direct or indirect competition) or genomic (hybridization and introgression) levels [ 3–5 ]. Tracking hybrid zone movements can provide insights about influences of environmental change on species interactions [ 1 ]. Here, we explore the extent and mechanism of movement of the contact zone between black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) and Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) at whole-organism and genomic levels. We find strong evidence that winter temperatures limit the northern extent of P. carolinensis by demonstrating a current-day association between the range limit of this species and minimum winter temperatures. We further show that this temperature limitation has been consistent over time because we are able to accurately hindcast the previous northern range limit under earlier climate conditions. Using genomic data, we confirm northward movement of this contact zone over the past decade and highlight temporally consistent differential—but limited—geographic introgression of alleles. Our results provide an informative example of the influence of climate change on a contact zone between sibling species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

White, Thomas


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Cell Press




Isabelle Duperret

Date Deposited:

10 Sep 2015 13:53

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2016 15:42

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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