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Research Group Members

Knud Jønsson

PhD Student (University of Copenhagen)

Email: kajonsson [at]

Thesis title:
Determining biogeographic patterns of dispersal and diversification in the "Crown Corvida" in Australia and south east Asia.

Co-supervised with: Prof Jon Fjeldså (University of Copenhagen) and Dr Les Christidis (Australian Museum)


Field of Interest

Passerine birds constitute the largest avian order comprising nearly 6000 species. Due to the enormous diversity combined with great morphological plasticity the classification and taxonomy of the group has been rather controversial. The objective of the proposed project is to conduct a detailed phylogenetic investigation of "Crown Corvida". In the first place the aim is to construct a phylogeny for "Crown Corvida" and secondly to evaluate when and how the group dispersed out of Australia across Wallacea.

The phylogenetic work will make it possible to:

        (1) improve resolution within clades;
        (2) place odd taxa; and
        (3) improve knowledge about oscine relationships within genera and families.

Furthermore, the phylogenetic work will form the basis for estimating divergence times and putative ancestral patterns within "Crown Corvida". This will be compared with detailed accounts of tectonic movements in the Indo-Pacific region and provide information about oscine dispersal patterns. 




  • Jønsson, K.A., Bowie, R.C.K., Moyle, R.G., Christidis, L., Filardi, C.E., Norman, J. and Fjeldså, J. (2008) Molecular phylogenetics and diversification within one of the most geographically varied bird species complexes (Pachycephala pectoralis/melanura) on earth. Journal of Avian Biology. In press.

  • Irestedt, M., Fuchs J., Jønsson K. A., Ohlson J.I. Pasquet E. and Ericson, P.G.P. (2008). The systematic affinity of the enigmatic Lamprolia victoriae (Aves: Passeriformes) – An example of avian dispersal between New Guinea and Fiji over Miocene intermittent landbridges. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In press.

  • Jønsson, K.A., Bowie, R.C.K., Norman, J.A., Christidis, L. and Fjeldså, J. (2008) Polyphyletic origin of toxic Pitohui birds suggests widespread occurrence of toxicity in corvoid birds. Biology Letters. 4: 71-74.

  • Jønsson, K.A., Irestedt, M., Fuchs, J., Ericson, P.G.P., Christidis, L., Bowie, R.C.K., Norman, J.A., Pasquet, E. and Fjeldså, J. (2008) Explosive avian radiations and multi-directional dispersal across Wallacea: evidence from the Campephagidae and other Crown Corvida (Aves). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47: 221-236.

  • Fjeldså J., Irestedt M., Jønsson K.A., Ohlson J.I. & Ericson, P.G.P. (2007) Phylogeny of the ovenbird genus Upucerthia: a case of independent adaptations for terrestrial life. Zoologica Scripta 36: 133-141.

  • Jønsson K.A., Fjeldså J., Ericson P.G.P.and Irestedt M. (2007) Systematic placement of an enigmatic Southeast Asian taxon Eupetes macrocerus and implications for the biogeography of a main songbird radiation, the Passerida. Biology Letters. 3: 323-326.

  • Jønsson K.A., Kristensen J.B., Danielsen F., Krabbe N., Poulsen M.K. & Fjeldså J. (2007) Galathea 3 i fugleperspektiv. Dansk Ornitologisk Forenings Tidsskrift 101: 6-7.

  • Jønsson, K.A. & Fjeldså J. 2006. Determining biogeographic patterns of dispersal and diversification in oscine passerine birds in Australia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Journal of Biogeography 33: 1155-1165.

  • Jønsson K.A. & Fjeldså J. 2006. A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri). Zoologica Scripta 35: 149-186.

  • Jønsson K.A. 2006. Sangfuglenes verdenserobring og "supertræet". DYR 1: 28- 31.

  • Tøttrup A.P. & Jønsson K.A. 2006. Den 24. Internationale Ornitologiske Kongres (IOC). Dansk Ornitologisk Forenings Tidsskrift 100: 317-318.

  • Jønsson K.A. 2005. Sangfuglenes erobring af verden. Dansk Ornitologisk Forenings Tidsskrift 99: 167-168.

  • Jønsson K.A., Munk L. & Smith M. 2003. Diversity and Biomass of marine flagellates and diatoms in the vicinity of Disko Island, West Greenland. in: Arctic Biology Field Course 2002 pp. 21-74. Zoological Museum. Copenhagen, Denmark.