Modern bird diversity for groups in the Greater Antilles, like parrots, is a fraction of what it once was prior to human arrival in the Caribbean. Among parrot groups thought to have become once more widespread are amazons (Amazona), a genus with almost 30 species, found across Central and South America. Phylogenetic work on Amazona has determined molecularly-dated divergence times for the evolution of different species. Today, the Greater Antilles have many single-island endemic amazon species and only one species, the Rose-Throated Parrot (Amazona leucocephala) being found on multiple islands. Divergence times of amazon parrots from molecular phylogenetic dating, can be correlated to known sea-level values from marine isotope stages (MIS) of the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Bathymetric data was altered using raster math (map algebra) to create seascapes – islands/landmasses reflecting sea-level conditions during the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene to determine optimal connectivity between islands which were then made into Routes using Network Analyst in ArcGIS Pro. Exposure vs inundation of the Nicaraguan Rise likely influenced island-hopping for these parrots between the mainland and Jamaica, leading to at least two colonization events, where after which amazons colonized the rest of the Greater Antilles.
Dr. Richard Lisichenko
Copyright the Author(s)
"Timing of diversification, dispersal, and biogeography of parrots in thegenus Amazona throughout the Caribbean, visualized in GIS,"
SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days: Vol. 2023, Article 87.
Available at: https://scholars.fhsu.edu/sacad/vol2023/iss2023/87