Robert Glen Moyle

Research Centers - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU Biodiversity Institute
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Dyche Hall
University of Kansas
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045-7561


Dr. Robert 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.

Research Interests

  • Ornithology
  • Systematics
  • Phylogeny
  • Biogeography

Selected Publications

Moyle, R. G., Manthey, J. D., Hosner, P. A., Rahman, M. Lakim, M. & 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

Moyle, R. G., Oliveros, C. H., Andersen, M. J., Hosner, P. A., Benz, B. W., Manthey, J. D., Travers, S. L., Brown, R. M., & Faircloth, B. C. (2016). Tectonic collision and uplift of Wallacea triggered the global songbird radiation. Nature Communications, 7.

Uy, J. C., Cooper, E. A., Cutie, S. Concannon, M. R., Poelstra, J. W., Moyle, R. G., & Filardi, C. E. (2016). Mutations in different pigmentation genes are associated with parallel melanism in island flycatchers. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 283(1834), 20160731.

Manthey, J. D., Campillo, L. C., Burns, K. J., & Moyle, R. G. (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, J. D., & Moyle, R. G. (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. DOI:10.1111/mec.13258

Andersen, M. J., Hosner, P. A., Filardi, C. E., & Moyle, R. G. (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. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.11.010

Andersen, M. J., Shult, H. T., Cibois, A. Thibault, J. Filardi, C. E., & Moyle, R. G. (2015). Rapid diversification and secondary sympatry in Australo-Pacific kingfishers (Aves: Alcedinidae: Todiramphus). Royal Society Open Science, 2(2), 140375. DOI:10.1098/rsos.140375

Moyle, R. G., Hosner, P. A., Jones, A. W., & Outlaw, D. C. (2015). Phylogeny and biogeography of Ficedula flycatchers (Aves: Muscicapidae): novel results from fresh source material. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 82 Pt A, 87-94. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.09.029

Andersen, M. J., Nyari, A. S., Mason, I. Joseph, L. Dumbacher, J. P., Filardi, C. E., & Moyle, R. G. (2014). Molecular systematics of the world's most polytypic bird: the Pachycephala pectoralis/melanura (Aves: Pachycephalidae) species complex. Zoological Journal of the Linnena Society, 170, 566-588. DOI:10.1111/zoj.12088

Mittermeier, J. C., Burner, R. C., Oliveros, C. H., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Irham, M. Haryoko, T. & Moyle, R. G. (2014). Vocalisations and display behaviour of Javan Woodcock Scolopax saturata support its status as a distinct species. FORKTAIL,(30), 130-131.

Mittermeier, J. C., Oliveros, C. H., Haryoko, T. Irham, M. & Moyle, R. G. (2014). An avifaunal survey of three Javan volcanoesΓÇöGn Salak, Gn Slamet, and the Ijen highlands. BirdingASIA, 22, 91-100.

Hosner, P. A., Sánchez-González, L. A., Peterson, A. T., & Moyle, R. G. (2014). Climate-driven diversification and Pleistocene refugia in Philippine birds: evidence from phylogeographic structure and paleoenvironmental niche modeling. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 68(9), 2658-74. DOI:10.1111/evo.12459

Andersen, M. J., Naikatini, A. & Moyle, R. G. (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

Moyle, R. G., Jones, R. M., & Andersen, M. J. (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.

Brown, R. M., Siler, C. D., Oliveros, C. H., Esselstyn, J. A., Diesmos, A. C., Hosner, P. A., Linkem, C. W., Barley, A. J., Oaks, J. R., Sanguila, M. B., Welton, L. J., Blackburn, D. C., Moyle, R. G., Peterson, A. T., & Alcala, A. C. (2013). Evolutionary Processes of Diversification in a Model Island Archipelago. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 44, 411-435. DOI:10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110411-160323

Selected Grants

Moyle, Robert G, (Principal), Manthey, Joseph D, (Co-Investigator), DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Hybridization and its downstream consequences for biodiversity., DEB-1406989, $16,733, (06/01/2014 - 05/31/2016) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Moyle, Robert G, (Principal), Oliveros, Carl H, (Co-Investigator), Holder, Mark, (Co-Investigator), DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Disentangling phylogenetic relationships in an explosive bird radiation, DEB-1311513, $19,256, (07/01/2013 - 06/30/2015) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Brown, Rafe M, (Principal), Moyle, Robert G, (Co-Investigator), Peterson, A Townsend, (Co-Investigator), RAPID: Re-organization of Philippine Rainforest Biodiversity Following Disturbance on Regional Scales from a Powerful Typhoon, DEB-1418895, $125,942, (06/01/2014 - 05/31/2015) . Federal. Status: Funded.

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