Diversification of Old World Bats in Malaysia: an evolutionary and phylogeography hypothesis tested through the Genetic Species Concept



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Objectives of this study are to use a multifaceted approach to understand biodiversity and systematic implications through the interpretation of genetics and morphological datasets. Extensions to this approach use phylogenetic datasets to infer biogeographic scenarios of diversification, distribution and establishment of monophyletic evolutionary lineage. In Chapter II, I have first assessed the genetic variation within Malaysian bats collected during the TTU-UNIMAS Sowell Expedition in 2006 that are distributed in both Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. Out of 16 species studied in this study, nine were identified with 5% or more genetic divergences indicating these phylogroups have been evolving independently for sufficient time to speciate by the Bateson-Dobzhansky-Mueller (BDM) model and therefore deserve further study to determine if specific status is merited. Further study on the taxonomy of these species within their geographic range indicates that some of these species merit a specific status. In some cases, they have been recognized previously as subspecies. Using this as the preliminary data, in Chapter III, I have further applied the genetic species concept to the genus: Kerivoula which was found to exhibit more than 10% genetic divergence within morphologically identified species. Based on the field keys available to us we concluded there were at least three species present in our field collection: K. pellucida, K. intermedia, and K. papillosa. However, based on subsequent morphometric and genetic analyses we identified six species within our collection: K. hardwickii, K. intermedia, K. lenis, K. minuta, K. papillosa, and K. pellucida. The utility of multiple data sets to assess poorly studied genera that show morphological similarities is explained.