The project is a 1.5 semester Master's thesis of Abdul Waqar whom our group is supervising that will investigate the biogeography, genetic structure and estimate contaminants in sequenced whole genomes of museum samples in the New Guinean bird genus Paradisaea.
This group is currently phylogenetically uncertain, possibly due to hybridisation events that are known to occur based on morphology and limited genetic data. We have access to 351 samples (137 P. apoda, 16 P. decora, 25 P. guilielmi, 133 P. minor, 6 P. raggiana and 34 P. rubra) of which we have sequenced 100-125 individuals, similar to the Melidectes sample size. The available individuals from six different species give a good coverage over their natural distribution. Building up on the results of the biogeographical analyses we will then continue to look into species delimitation, but also hybridisation and introgression patterns within this system. With this project we can demonstrate the importance of museum collections in the genomic era to study species that would be difficult to sample, but we also aim to offer further insights into the mechanisms of speciation by studying hybridisation.