The Ornithology Division performs both applied and basic research. Most is specimen-based and centered around our state-of the-art molecular laboratory facility.

Much of the Ornithology Division's recent research is in the area of conservation genetics. In this work, population genetic techniques are used to identify genetically unique populations, define population boundaries, estimate current and historic population sizes, and estimate the degree of gene flow into and out of populations of concern. By enhancing our understanding of regional biodiversity in this way, natural resource managers are able to make better-informed conservation decisions.

Another primary function of this program is the continued building and maintenance of the Avian Research Collection. This collection represents a permanent record of avian biodiversity that is not only used in many contemporary studies, but also will be available for use by future generations of researchers.


Submissions from 2011

Phylogeography of a vanishing North American songbird: The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris), Connie Ann Herr, P. W. Sykes, and John Klicka

A generic name for some sparrows (Aves: Emberizidae), John Klicka and Richard C. Banks


A phylogeographic and population genetic analysis of a widespread, sedentary North American bird: The Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus), John Klicka, Garth M. Spellman, Kevin Winker, Vivien Chua, and Brian T. Smith

Cryptic diversity in a widespread North American songbird: Phylogeography of the Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), Joseph D. Manthey, John Klicka, and Garth M. Spellman


The role of historical and contemporary processes on phylogeographic structure and genetic diversity in the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, Brian T. Smith, Patricia Escalante, Blanca E. Hernandez-Banos, Adolfo G. Navarro-Siguenza, Sievert Rohwer, and John Klicka


Botteri's Sparrow (Peucaea botterii) occurs in Northern Coahuila, Mexico, Paul van Els, Ricardo Canales-del-Castillo, and John Klicka

Submissions from 2010

Two pulses of diversification across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in a montane Mexican bird fauna, B. R. Barber and John Klicka

Molecular phylogenetic analysis of an endangered Mexican sparrow: Spizella wortheni, Ricardo Canales-del-Castillo, John Klicka, Susana Favela, and Jose I. Gonzalez-Rojas

A comprehensive multilocus phylogeny for the wood-warblers and a revised classification of the Parulidae (Aves), Irby J. Lovette, Jorge I. Perez-Eman, John P. Sullivan, Richard C. Banks, Isabella Fiorentino, Sergio Cordoba, Maria Echeveray-Galvis, F. Keith Barker, Kevin J. Burns, John Klicka, Scott M. Lanyon, and Eldredge Bermingham

Neotropical birds show a humped distribution of within-population genetic diversity along a latitudinal transect, Matthew J. Miller, Eldredge Bermingham, John Klicka, Patricia Escalante, and Kevin Winker

The profound influence of the Late-Pliocene Panamanian uplift on the exchange, diversification, and distribution of New World Birds, Brian T. Smith and John Klicka

Submissions from 2009

A molecular systematic revision of two historically problematic songbird clades: Aimophila and Pipilo, Jeffrey M. DaCosta, Garth M. Spellman, Patricia Escalante, and John Klicka

Evolutionary history of a prominent North American warbler clade: The Oporornis–Geothlypis complex, Patricia Escalante, Laura Márquez-Valdelamar, Patricia De La Torre, Juan P. Laclette, and John Klicka

Submissions from 2008

The great American interchange in birds: a phylogenetic perspective with the genus trogon, Jeffrey M. DaCosta and John Klicka


Historic genetic structuring and paraphyly within the Great-tailed Grackle, Jeffrey M. DaCosta, Walter Wehtje, and John Klicka

Out of Amazonia again and again: Episodic crossing of the Andes promotes diversification in a lowland forest flycatcher, Matthew J. Miller, Eldredge Bermingham, John Klicka, Patricia Escalante, Fabio S. Raposo do Amaral, Jason T. Weir, and Kevin Winker


Geographic variation in malarial parasite lineages in the Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), K. M. Pagenkopp, John Klicka, K. L. Durrant, J. C. Garvin, and R. C. Fleischer

Systematics of Zoothera thrushes, and a synthesis of true thrush molecular systematic relationships, Gary Voelker and John Klicka

Phylogeography of a morphologically diverse Neotropical montane species, the Common Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus), Jason T. Weir, Eldredge Bermingham, Matthew J. Miller, John Klicka, and Maribel A. Gonzalez

Submissions from 2005

A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the “true thrushes” (Aves: Turdinae), John Klicka, Gary Voelker, and Garth M. Spellman

Submissions from 2004

The tempo of avian diversification during the Quaternary, Robert M. Zink, John Klicka, and Brian R. Barber

Submissions from 2003

Longspurs and Snow Buntings: Phylogeny and biogeography of a high-latitude clade (Calcarius), John Klicka, Robert M. Zink, and Kevin Winker

Submissions from 2001


A Cytochrome-b Perspective on Passerina Bunting Relationships, John Klicka, Adam J. Fry, Robert M. Zink, and Christopher W. Thompson


The taxonomic rank of Spizella taverneri: A response to Mayr and Johnson, John Klicka, Robert M. Zink, Jon C. Barlow, W. Bruce McGillivray, and Terry J. Doyle


Recolonization of the Flicker and other notes from Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, Paul R. Sweet, George F. Barrrowclough, John Klicka, Liliana Montanez-Godoy, and Patricia Escalante

Submissions from 2000


New World nine-primaried oscine relationships: constructing a molecular framework, John Klicka, Kevin P. Johnson, and Scott M. Lanyon

Avian Evolution during the Pleistocene in North America, Robert M. Zink and John Klicka

Submissions from 1999

Pleistocene effects on North American songbird evolution, John Klicka and Robert M. Zink


Evidence supporting the recent origin and species status of the Timberline Sparrow, John Klicka, Robert M. Zink, Jon C. Barlow, W. Bruce McGillivray, and Terry J. Doyle


Evolutionary patterns of morphometrics, allozymes and mitochondrial DNA in thrashers (Genus Toxostoma), Robert M. Zink, Donna L. Dittmann, John Klicka, and Rachelle C. Blackwell-Rago

Submissions from 1998

Pleistocene speciation and the mitochondrial DNA clock: A response to Arbogast and Slowinski, John Klicka and Robert M. Zink

Submissions from 1997

The importance of recent ice ages in speciation: A failed paradigm, John Klicka and Robert M. Zink