Robert Moyle

Primary office:
Dyche Hall


Dr. Moyle's research seeks to understand the patterns and processes of avian diversification.

I am interested in three broad topics; the historical biogeography of pantropical groups, patterns of endemism and drivers of diversification in SE Asia and the tropical Pacific, and the evolution of life history traits within tropical groups.

Even in “well studied” groups like birds, relatively little is known about diversity in the tropics. Because of this, the first step in much of my research is to accurately account for this diversity, generally using museum collections and genetic surveys to reveal populations that have independent histories and field surveys to document current distributions and community structure. The genetic data are then used to reconstruct the evolutionary history of groups of interest.

These evolutionary histories can be combined with natural history data and used to test hypotheses about factors that might influence diversification. Much of my work focuses on two insular regions (Melanesia and the Philippines/Greater Sunda islands) that are ideal systems for studying the tempo and mode of speciation in birds. Field expeditions are a large component of my research program, for specimen acquisition as well as collecting life history data.

Selected Publications

  • McCullough, J. M., Moyle, R. G., Smith, B. T., and Andersen, M. J. 2019. A Laurasian origin for a pantropical bird radiation is supported by genomic and fossil data (Aves: Coraciiformes). Proceedings of the Royal Society 286: 1910. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0122
  • Kimball, R. T., Oliveros, C. H., Wang, N., White, N. D., Barker, F. K., Field, D. J., Ksepka, D. T., Chesser, R. T., Moyle, R. G., Braun, M. J., Brumfield, R. T., Faircloth, B. C., Smith, B. T., and Braun, E. L. 2019. A Phylogenomic Supertree of Birds. Diversity-basel 11: 7. doi:10.3390/d11070109
  • Manthey, J. D., Boissinot, S., and Moyle, R. G. 2019. Biodiversity genomics of North American Dryobates woodpeckers reveals little gene flow across the D. nuttallii x D. scalaris contact zone. Auk 136: 2. doi:10.1093/auk/ukz015
  • Boyce, A. J., Shakya, S., Sheldon, F. H., Moyle, R. G., and Martin, T. E. 2019. Biotic interactions are the dominant drivers of phylogenetic and functional structure in bird communities along a tropical elevational gradient. Auk, 136(4). Ukz054. doi:10.1093/auk/ukz054
  • Oliveros, C. H., Field, D. J., Ksepka, D. T., Barker, F. K., Aleixo, A., Andersen, M. J., Alstrom, P., Benz, B. W., Braun, E. L., Braun, M. J., Bravo, G. A., Brumfield, R. T., Chesser, R. T., Claramunt, S., Cracraft, J., Cuervo, A. M., Derryberry, E. P., Glenn, T. C., Harvey, M. G., Hosner, P. A., Joseph, L., Kimball, R. T., Mack, A. L., Miskelly, C. M., Peterson, A. T., Robbins, M. B., Sheldon, F. H., Silveira, L. F., Smith, B. T., White, N. D., Moyle, R. G. and Faircloth, B. C. 2019. Earth history and the passerine superradiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(16): 7916–7925. doi:10.1073/pnas.1813206116
  • Campillo, L. C., Burns, K. J., Moyle, R. G., and Manthey, J. D. 2019. Mitochondrial genomes of the bird genus Piranga: rates of sequence evolution, and discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Mitochondrial DNA part B-resources 4(2): 2566–2569. doi:10.1080/23802359.2019.1637286
  • Cai, T., Cibois, A., Alstrom, P., Moyle, R., Kennedy, J., Shao, S., Zhang, R., Irestedt, M., Ericson, P., Gelang, M., Qu, Y., Lei, F., and Fjeldsa, J. 2019. Near-complete phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the world's babblers (Aves: Passeriformes). Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 130: 346–356. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.10.010
  • Catanach, T. A., Johnson, K. P., Marks, B. D., Moyle, R. G., Valim, M. P., and Weckstein, J. D. 2019. Two lineages of kingfisher feather lice exhibit differing degrees of cospeciation with their hosts. Parasitology 146(8): 1083–1095. doi:10.1017/S0031182019000453
  • McCullough, J. M., Joseph, L., Moyle, R. G., and Andersen, M. J. 2019. Ultraconserved elements put the final nail in the coffin of traditional use of the genus Meliphaga (Aves: Meliphagidae). Zoologica Scripta 48(4): 411–418. doi:10.1111/zsc.12350
  • Andersen, M. J., McCullough, J. M., Friedman, N. R., Peterson, A. T., Moyle, R. G., Joseph, L., and Nyari, A. S. 2019. Ultraconserved elements resolve genus-level relationships in a major Australasian bird radiation (Aves: Meliphagidae). Emu-Austral 119(3): 218–232. doi:10.1080/01584197.2019.1595662
  • Shakya, S, Lim, H.C., Moyle, R.G., Rahman, M.A., Lakim, M. and Sheldon, F.H. 2019. A cryptic new species of bulbul from Borneo. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 139(1): 46–55.
  • DeCicco, LH, Brady, S.S., Hamilton, S., Havimana, A., Mapel, X.M.,McCullough, J.M. Olson, K.V.,  Tigulu, I.G., Travers, S.L., Tugu, A., Andersen, M.J., and Moyle, R.G. 2019.  Notes on the birds of Isabel, Solomon Islands, including the first record since 1927 of Island Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 139(4): 311–319.
  • Isabel, Solomon Islands, including the first record since 1927 of Island Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 139(4): 311–319.
  • Alström, P, Cibois, A.,  Irestedt, M., Zuccon, D., Gelang, M., Fjeldså, J., Andersen, M. J., Moyle, R.G.,  E Pasquet, E., and Olsson, U. 2018. Comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the grassbirds and allies (Locustellidae) reveals extensive non-monophyly of traditional genera, and a proposal for a new classification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 127: 367–375.
  • Andersen, M. J., McCullough, J. M., Mauck, W. M., Smith, B. T., and Moyle, R. G.  2018. A phylogeny of kingfishers reveals an Indomalayan origin and elevated rates of diversification on oceanic islands. Journal of Biogeography 45: 269–281.
  • Campillo, L. C., Oliveros, C. H., Sheldon, F. H., and Moyle, R.G. 2018. Genomic data resolve gene tree discordance in spiderhunters (Nectariniidae, Arachnothera). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 120: 151–157.
  • Pegan, T. M., Gulson-Castillo, E. R., Biun, A., Byington, J. I., Moyle, R. G., Yu, F. T. Y., Wood, E. M., Winkler, D. W., and Sheldon, F. H. 2018.  An assessment of avifauna in a recovering lowland forest at Kinabalu National Park, Malaysian Borneo. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 66: 110–131.
  • Hosner, P. A., Campillo, L. C., Andersen, M. J., Sanchez-Gonzalez, L. A., Oliveros, C. H., RC Urriza, R. C., and Moyle, R. G.. 2018. An integrative species delimitation approach reveals fine-scale endemism and substantial unrecognized avian diversity in the Philippine Archipelago. Conservation Genetics 19(5): 1153–1168.
  • Moyle, R. G., Manthey, J. D., Hosner, P. A., Rahman, M., Lakim, M., and Sheldon, F. H. 2017. A genome-wide assessment of stages of elevational parapatry in Bornean passerine birds reveals no introgression: implications for processes and patterns of speciation. PEERJ 5. doi: 10.7717/peerj.3335
  • Andersen, M. J., Manthey, J. D., Naikatini, A., and Moyle, R. G. 2017. Conservation genomics of the silktail (Aves: Lamprolia victoriae) suggests the need for increased protection of native forest on the Natewa Peninsula, Fiji. Conservation Genetics 18(6): 1277-1285. doi: 10.1007/s10592-017-0979-x
  • Chua, V. L., Smith, B. T., Burner, R. C., Rahman, M. A., Lakim, M., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Moyle, R. G., and Sheldon, F. H. 2017. Evolutionary and ecological forces influencing population diversification in Bornean montane passerines. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 113: 139-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.05.016
  • Manthey, J. D., Moyle, R. G., Gawin, D. F., Rahman, M. A., Ramji, Mohamad Fizl Sidq, and Sheldon, F. H. 2017. Genomic phylogeography of the endemic Mountain Black-eye of Borneo (Chlorocharis emiliae): montane and lowland populations differ in patterns of Pleistocene diversification. Journal of Biogeography 44(10): 2272-2283. doi:10.1111/jbi.13028
  • Manthey, J. D., Geiger, M., and Moyle, R. G. 2017. Relationships of morphological groups in the northern flicker superspecies complex (Colaptes auratus & C-chrysoides). Systematics and Biodiversity 15(3): 183-191. doi:10.1080/14772000.2016.1238020
  • Manthey, JD, LC Campillo, KJ Burns & RG Moyle. 2016. Comparison of target-capture and restriction-site associated DNA sequencing for phylogenomics: a test in cardinalid tanagers (Aves, genus: Piranga). Systematic Biology. doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syw005
  • Manthey, JD, MR Robbins & RG Moyle. 2016. A genomic investigation of the putative contact zone between divergent Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) lineages: chromosomal patterns of genetic differentiation. Genome 59(2):115–125.
  • Dejtaradol, A. SC Renner, S Karapan, PJJ Bates, RG Moyle & M. Packert.  2016.  Indochinese-Sundaic faunal transition and phylogeographical divides north of the Isthmus of Krain Southeast Asian Bulbuls (Aves: Pycnonotidae).  Journal of Biogeography 43(3): 471-483.
  • Sheldon, F.H., H.C. Lim, R.G. Moyle.  2015.  Return to the Malay Archipelago: the biogeography of Sundaic rainforest birds.  Journal of Ornithology 156(1): S91-S113.
  • Peterson, A. T., R. G. Moyle, F. Lei, L. C. Campillo, P. A. Hosner, L. B. Klicka, H. C. Lim, A. S. Nyari, Y. Qu, S. Reddy, F. H. Sheldon, F. Zou. 2015. Avian evolution and speciation in the Southeast Asian tropics. Current Zoology 61(5): 898-900.
  • Hosner, P. A., H. Liu, A. T. Peterson, R. G. Moyle. 2015. Rethinking phylogeographic structure and historical refugia in the rufous-capped babbler Cyanoderma ruficeps in light of range-wide genetic sampling and paleodistributional reconstructions. Current Zoology 61(5): 901-909.
  • Manthey, J. D., and R. G. Moyle. 2015. Isolation by environment in White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) of the Madrean Archipelago sky islands: a landscape genomics approach. Molecular ecology 24(14): 3628-38.
  • Chua, V. L., Q. Phillipps, H. C. Lim, S. S. Taylor, D. F. Gawin, M. A. Rahman, R. G. Moyle, F. H. Sheldon. 2015. Phylogeography of three endemic birds of Maratua Island, a potential archive of Bornean biogeography. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 63: 259-269.
  • Andersen, M. J., P. A. Hosner, C. E. Filardi, and R. G. Moyle. 2015. Phylogeny of the monarch flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly and novel relationships within a major Australo-Pacific radiation. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 83: 118-36.
  • Andersen, M. J., H. T. Shult, A. Cibois, J.-C. Thibault, C. E. Filardi, and R. G. Moyle. 2015. Rapid diversification and secondary sympatry in Australo-Pacific kingfishers (Aves: Alcedinidae: Todiramphus). Royal Society Open Science 2(2): 140375.
  • Sánchez-González, L. A., P. A. Hosner, and R. G. Moyle. 2015. Genetic differentiation in insular lowland rainforests: Insights from historical demographic patterns in Philippine birds. PloS One, 10(8): e0134284.
  • Moyle, R. G., P. A. Hosner, A. W. Jones, D. C. Outlaw. 2015. Phylogeny and biogeography of Ficedula flycatchers (Aves: Muscicapidae): novel results from fresh source material. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 82 Pt A, 87-94.
  • Reddy, S., S. Sharief, L. R. Yohe, J. Witkowski, P. A. Hosner, Á. S Nyári, and R. G. Moyle. 2015. Untangling taxonomic confusion and diversification patterns of the Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers (Timaliidae: Pomatorhinus ruficollis complex) in southern Asia. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 82 Pt A: 183-92.
  • Andersen, M. J., A. S. Nyari, I. Mason, L. Joseph, J. P. Dumbacher, C. E. Filardi, and R. G. Moyle. 2014. Molecular systematics of the world's most polytypic bird: the Pachycephala pectoralis/melanura (Aves: Pachycephalidae) species complex. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 170, 566-588. doi:10.1111/zoj.12088
  • Gawin, D. F., R. A. Mustafa, M. F. Ramji, B. T. Smith, H. C. Lim, R. G. Moyle, and F. H. Sheldon. 2014. Patterns of avian diversification in Borneo: The case of the endemic Mountain Black-eye (Chlorocharis emiliae). The Auk, 131, 86-99. doi:10.1642/AUK-13-190.1
  • Andersen, M. J., A. Naikatini, and R. G. Moyle. 2014. A molecular phylogeny of Pacific honeyeaters (Aves: Meliphagidae) reveals extensive paraphyly and an isolated Polynesian radiation. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 71, 308-15. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.11.014
  • Mittermeier, J. C., R. C. Burner, C. H. Oliveros, D. M. Prawiradilaga, M. Irham, T. Haryoko, and R. G. Moyle. 2014. Vocalisations and display behaviour of Javan Woodcock Scolopax saturata support its status as a distinct species. Forktail 30: 130-131.
  • Lim, H. C., V. L. Chua, P. M. Benham, C. H. Oliveros, M. A. Rahman, R. G. Moyle, and F. H. Sheldon. 2014. Divergence history of the Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sericeus) of Sundaland: Implications for the biogeography of Palawan and the taxonomy of island species in general. Auk 131(4): 629-642. doi:10.1642/AUK-14-80.1
  • Hosner, P. A., L. A. Sánchez-González, A. T. Peterson, and R. G. Moyle. 2014. Climate-driven diversification and Pleistocene refugia in Philippine birds: evidence from phylogeographic structure and paleoenvironmental niche modeling. Evolution, 68(9): 2658-74. doi:10.1111/evo.12459
  • Moyle, R. G., P. A. Hosner, A.W. Jones, and D. C.  2014. Outlaw. Phylogeny and biogeography of Ficedula flycatchers (Aves: Muscicapidae): novel results from fresh source material. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 87–94.
  • Andersen, M. J., C. H. Oliveros, C. E. Filardi, and R. G. Moyle. 2013. "Phylogeography of the Variable Dwarf-Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus (Aves: Alcedinidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences" Auk. 130(1). 118-131.
  • Moyle, R. G., R. M. Jones, and M. J. Andersen. 2013. "A reconsideration of Gallicolumba (Aves: Columbidae) relationships using fresh source material reveals pseudogenes, chimeras, and a novel phylogenetic hypothesis" Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 66(3). 1060-1066.
  • Oliveros, C. H., S. Reddy, and R. G. Moyle. 2012. "The phylogenetic position of some Philippine "babblers" spans the muscicapoid and sylvioid bird radiations" Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65. 799-804.
  • Moyle, R. G., M. J. Andersen, C. H. Oliveros, F. Steinheimer, and S. Reddy. 2012. "Phylogeny and biogeography of the core babblers (Aves: Timaliidae)" Systematic Biology. 61(4). 631-651.
  • Sheldon, F. H., C. H. Oliveros, S. S. Taylor, B. McKay, H. C. Lim, M. A. Rahman, H. Mays, and R. G. Moyle. 2012. "Molecular phylogeny and insular biogeography of the lowland tailorbirds of Southeast Asia (Cisticolidae: Orthotomus)" Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65. 54-63.
  • Hosner, P. A. and R. G. Moyle. 2012. "A molecular phylogeny of black-tyrants (Tyrannidae: Knipolegus) reveals strong geographic patterns and homoplasy in plumage and display behavior" Auk. 129. 156-167.
  • Reddy, S. and R. G. Moyle. 2011. "Systematics of the scimitar babblers (Pomatorhinus: Timaliidae): phylogeny, biogeography, and species-limits of four species-complexes" Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 102. 846-869.
  • Lim, H. C., M. A. Rahman, S. L. Lim, R. G. Moyle, and F. H. Sheldon. 2011. "Revisiting Wallace’s haunt: Coalescent simulations and comparative niche modeling reveal historical mechanisms that promoted population divergence in the Malay Archipelago" Evolution. 65(2). 321-334.
  • Sánchez-González, L. A. and R. G. Moyle. 2011. "Molecular systematics and species limits in the Philippine fantails (Aves: Rhipidura)" Molecular Biology and Evolution. 61(2). 290-299.
  • Moyle, R. G., S. S. Taylor, C. H. Oliveros, H. C. Lim, C. L. Haines, M. A. Rahman, and F. H. Sheldon. 2011. "Diversification of an endemic Southeast Asian genus: Phylogenetic relationships of the Spiderhunters (Nectariniidae: Arachnothera)" Auk. 128(4). 777-788.
  • Lim, H. C., F. Zou, S. S. Taylor, B. D. Marks, R. G. Moyle, G. Voelker, and F. H. Sheldon. 2010. "Phylogeny of magpie-robins and shamas (Aves: Turdidae: Copsychus and Trichixos): implications for island biogeography in Southeast Asia" Journal of Biogeography. 37. 1894-1906.
  • Hosner, P. A., F. H. Sheldon, H. C. Lim, and R. G. Moyle. 2010. "Phylogeny and biogeography of the Asian trogons (Aves: Trogoniformes) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences" Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57. 1219–1225.
  • Jønsson, K. A., R. C. Bowie, R. G. Moyle, M. Irestedt, L. Christidis, J. A. Norman, and J. Fjeldsa. 2010. "Phylogeny and biogeography of Oriolidae (Aves: Passeriformes)" Ecography. 33. 232-241.
  • Oliveros, C. H. and R. G. Moyle. 2010. "Origin and diversification of Philippine bulbuls" Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54(3). 822-832.
  • Sánchez-González, L. A., C. H. Oliveros, N. Puna, and R. G. Moyle. 2010. "Nests, nest placement, and eggs of three Philippine endemic birds" Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 122(3). 587-591.
  • Esselstyn, J. A., C. H. Oliveros, R. G. Moyle, A. T. Peterson, J. A. McGuire, and R. M. Brown. 2010. "Integrating phylogenetic and taxonomic evidence illuminates complex biogegraphic patterns along Huxley’s modification of Wallace’s Line" Journal of Biogeography. 37. 2054–2066.
  • Jønsson, K. A., R. C. Bowie, R. G. Moyle, L. Christidis, J. A. Norman, B. W. Benz, and J. Fjeldsa. 2010. "Historical biogeography of an Indo-Pacific passerine bird family: Pachycephalidae: Different colonization patterns in the Indonesian and Melanesian archipelagos" Journal of Biogeography. 37(2). 245-257.
  • Lim, H. C., F. H. Sheldon, and R. G. Moyle. 2010. "Extensive color polymorphism in the Southeast Asian Oriental dwarf kingfisher Ceyx erithaca: a result of gene flow during population divergence?" Journal of Avian Biology. 41. 305-318.
  • Danielsen, F. et al. 2010. "Endemic avifaunal biodiversity and tropical forest loss in Makira, a mountainous Pacific island" Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. 31(1). 100-114.
  • Lohman, D. J. et al. 2010. "Cryptic genetic diversity in "widespread" Southeast Asian bird species suggests that Philippine avian endemism is gravely underestimated" Biological Conservation. 143. 1885-1890.
  • Derryberry, E., S. Claramunt, R. T. Chesser, A. Aleixo, J. Cracraft, R. G. Moyle, and R. T. Brumfield. 2010. "Certhiasomus, a new genus of woodcreeper (Aves: Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae)" Zootaxa. 2416. 44-50.














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