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Frank E. Rheindt                           
DAAD Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD University of Melbourne (Australia)

MCZ Room 500C
Tel: 617-496-8387
Fax: 617-495-5667


Research Interests

The motivation behind my research objectives is my fascination for evolutionary processes at the interface between the population and species level. Most of my research activities focus on differentiation mechanisms, introgression, population genetics, speciation and phylogenetics, with a more recent focus on phylogenomics using Next-Generation sequencing approaches. Birds have been my main model organism throughout the years, but I have also undertaken fruitful study excursions into the genetics and ecology of insects in my earlier career, and I am currently involved in a collaboration on lizards here at Harvard.

I am currently pursuing two major research programs:

(1) Genetic introgression: Genetic introgression is a biological phenomenon that is of central importance to such evolutionary processes as speciation and maintenance of genetic diversity, and is probably pervasive not only throughout plants – as has long been appreciated – but also animals. I am currently involved in a post-doctoral research project with Dr Scott Edwards at Harvard University looking at genetic introgression in tyrant-flycatchers across many different loci. I am employing Next-Generation sequencing technology using a novel protocol – developed in collaboration between Dr Matt Fujita, Dr Scott Edwards and myself – for my research on flycatcher introgression, and I am hoping to make Elaenia and Zimmerius flycatchers a model organism for the study of introgression.

(2) Biogeography in Wallacea: The Wallacean Region has had a major influence on our understanding of biogeography. Using his insights on animal distribution – especially birds – Alfred Russel Wallace delimited the area’s biogeographic regions along an improbable dividing line. Even so, the region’s avifauna remains virtually unexplored from a phylogenetic and population genetic perspective, partly because of great hurdles in permit acquisition. During my PhD candidature at Melbourne (Australia), I had the opportunity to publish on Papuan-Wallacean bird speciation. During multiple visits and months spent in the Wallacean field, I have cast a wide net of local collaborators. In a soon-to-be-initiated project, my aim is to use a thorough geographic sampling regime of birds coupled with modern phylogenomic methodology (see above) to illuminate regional biogeographic patterns against an earth-historic and paleo-climatic background of changing island connections. This region has had a tumultuous earth-historic trajectory, involving impressive faunal turnover at localized as well as regional levels, so the results of this research will provide a solid foundation for understanding how biogeographic processes developed a biodiversity hotspot.

Refereed Journal Articles:



Van Balen B, Eaton JA, Rheindt FE. 2012. Biology, taxonomy and conservation status of the Short-tailed Green Magpie Cissa thalassina from Java. Bird Conservation International, published online early; doi:10.1017/S0959270911000360.
Rheindt FE. 2012. New avian records from the little-explored Fakfak Mountains and the Onin Peninsula (West Papua). Bulletin Brit. Orn. Cl., in press.
Rheindt FE, Eaton JA. 2012. The life-history and taxonomy of yet another overlooked Bornean canopy bird. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology, in press.


Rheindt FE, Székely T, Edwards SV, Lee PLM, Burke T, Kennerley PR, Bakewell DN, AlRashidi M, Kosztolányi A, Weston MA, Liu W-T, Lei W-P, Shigeta Y, Javed S, Zefania S, Küpper C. 2011. Conflict between genetic and phenotypic differentiation: the evolutionary history of a ‘lost and rediscovered’ shorebird. PLoS ONE 6: e26995.
Rheindt FE, Edwards SV. 2011. Genetic introgression: an integral but neglected component of speciation in birds. Auk 128: 620-632.
Rheindt FE, Eaton JA, Verbelen F. 2011. Vocal trait evolution in a geographic leapfrog pattern: speciation in the Ptilinopus subgularis complex from Wallacea. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123: 429-440.
Rheindt FE, Verbelen F. 2011. First nest description of the Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk Accipiter rhodogaster with notes on its vocalizations and taxonomy. Kukila 15: 83-88.
Rheindt FE, Verbelen F. 2011. First record of Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana in the Wallacean Region. Kukila 15: 80-82.




Christidis, L., Rheindt, F.E., Boles, W.E., Norman, J.A. (2010): Plumage patterns are good indicators of taxonomic diversity, but not of phylogenetic affinities, in Australian grasswrens Amytornis (Aves: Maluridae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 57: 868-877.


Rheindt, F.E., Verbelen, F., Dadang Dwi Putra, Rahman, A., Indrawan, M. (2010): New biogeographic records in the avifauna of Peleng Island (Sulawesi, Indonesia), with taxonomic notes on some endemic taxa. Bulletin Brit. Orn. Cl. 130 (3): 181-207.


Rheindt, F.E. (2010): New biogeographic records for the avifauna of Taliabu (Sula Islands, Indonesia), with the preliminary documentation of two previously undiscovered taxa. Bulletin Brit. Orn. Cl. 130 (1): 33-51.


Brickle, N.W., Eaton, J.A., Rheindt, F.E. (2010): A rapid bird survey of the Menyapa mountains, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 26: 31-41.


Rheindt, F.E., Eaton, J.A. (2010): Biological species limits in the Banded Pitta Pitta guajana. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 26: 86-91.


Bezuijen, M.R., Eaton, J.A., Gidean, Hutchinson, R.O., Rheindt, F.E. (2010): Recent and historical bird records for Kalaw, eastern Myanmar (Burma) between 1895 and 2008. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 26: 49-74.




Rheindt, F.E., Christidis, L., Cabanne, G.S., Miyaki, C., Norman, J.A. (2009): The timing of Neotropical speciation dynamics in the late Neogene: a reconstruction of Myiopagis flycatcher diversification using phylogenetic and paleogeographic data. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 53: 961–971.


Rheindt, F.E., Christidis, L, Norman, J.A. (2009): Genetic introgression, incomplete lineage sorting and faulty taxonomy create multiple polyphyly in a montane clade of Elaenia flycatchers. Zoologica Scripta 38(2): 143-153.


Rheindt, F.E., Eaton, J.A. (2009): Species limits in Pteruthius shrike-babblers: a comparison between the Biological and Phylogenetic Species Concept. Zootaxa2301: 29-54.


Rheindt, F.E. (2009): First nest and egg description of the New Guinea Bronzewing Henicophaps albifrons and its phylogenetic significance. Kukila 14: 59-62.

 Eaton, J.A., Rheindt, F.E. (2009): Long-billed Plover Charadrius placidus nesting in its Himalayan wintering range: first breeding record for the Indian Subcontinent. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 25: 153-154.
 Hutchinson, R.O., Rheindt, F.E. (2009): First nest and egg of the Seram Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps stalkeri of Maluku. Kukila 14: 41-43.




Rheindt, F.E., Christidis, L., Norman, J.A. (2008): Habitat shifts in the evolutionary history of a Neotropical flycatcher lineage from forest and open landscapes. BMC – Evolutionary Biology 8: 193.


Rheindt, F.E., Norman, J.A., Christidis, L. (2008): Phylogenetic relationships of tyrant-flycatchers (Aves; Tyrannidae), with an emphasis on the elaeniine assemblage. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 46(1): 88-101.


Rheindt, F.E., Norman, J.A., Christidis, L. (2008): DNA evidence shows vocalizations to be a better indicator of taxonomic limits than plumage patterns in Zimmerius tyrant-flycatchers. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 48: 150-156.


Rheindt, F.E., Norman, J.A., Christidis, L. (2008): Genetic differentiation across the Andes in two pan-Neotropical tyrant-flycatcher species. Emu 108: 261-268.


Rheindt, F.E., Quispe Vela, H. (2008): Descripción del nido y de los polluelos del Solitario Orejiblanco Entomodestes leucotis. Cotinga 30: 70-71.


Rheindt, F.E. (2008): Descripción preliminar del nido de Pachyramphus spodiurus, especie amenazada. Cotinga 29: 162-163.




Norman, J.A., Rheindt, F.E., Rowe, D.L., Christidis, L. (2007): Speciation dynamics in the Australo-Papuan Meliphaga honeyeaters. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 42: 80-91. [despite being second author, I contributed equally to this work as the first author]


Rheindt, F.E., Hutchinson, R.O. (2007): A photoshot odyssey through the confused avian taxonomy of Seram and Buru (southern Moluccas). Birding Asia 7: 18-38.


Rheindt, F.E., Hutchinson, R.O. (2007): New island records and new elevational records of birds from the Southern Moluccas. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 23: 158-161.


Hutchinson, R., Eaton, J., Demeulemeester, B., Rheindt, F.E. (2007): Observations of Flores Scops Owl Otus alfredi on Flores, Indonesia, with a first description of its vocalisations. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 23: 184-187.




Rheindt, F.E. (2006): Splits galore: the revolution in Asian leaf warbler systematics. Birding Asia 5: 25-39.




Rheindt, F.E., Strehl, C.-P., Gadau, J. (2005): A genetic component in the determination of worker polymorphism in the Florida harvester ant Pogonomyrmex badius. Insectes Sociaux 52 (2): 163-168. [highly cited: 21 citations]


Rheindt, F.E., Austin, J.J. (2005): Major analytical and conceptual short-comings in a recent taxonomic revision of the Procellariiformes – a reply to Penhallurick and Wink (2004). Emu 105: 181-186.


Federle, W., Rheindt, F.E. (2005): Macaranga ant-plants hide food from intruders: correlation of food presentation and presence of wax barriers analysed using phylogenetically independent contrasts. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 84: 177-193.




Rheindt, F.E., Gadau, J., Strehl, C.-P., Hölldobler, B. (2004): Extremely high mating frequency in the Florida harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex badius). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 56 (5): 472-481. [highly cited: 28 citations]


Rheindt, F.E., Grafe, T.U., Abouheif, E. (2004): Rapidly evolving traits and the comparative method: how important is testing for phylogenetic independence? Evolutionary Ecology Research 6 (3): 377-396. [highly cited: 26 citations]


Rheindt, F.E. (2004): Notes on the range and ecology of Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 20: 141-142.


Rheindt, F.E. (2004): An incident of elevational displacement of birds at Bukit Fraser, Peninsular Malaysia. Forktail – Journal of Asian Ornithology 20: 130-131.


Rheindt, F.E. (2004): Review – Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 8, Broadbills to Tapaculos. Australian Field Ornithology 21 (3): 127-130.


Rheindt, F.E. (2004): New Species in Cambodia: Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus roseus in Chhep; and Sulphur-breasted Warbler Phylloscopus ricketti at Bokor. Cambodia Bird News 12: 45-46.




Rheindt, F.E. (2003): The impact of roads on birds: Does song frequency play a role in determining susceptibility to noise pollution? J. Ornith. 144: 295-306. [highly cited: 29 citations]




Rheindt, F.E., Grafe, T.U., Linsemair, K.E. (2001): New bird records for Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast. Malimbus 24 (1): 38-40.





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