Jérôme Fuchs

  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Ornithology & Mammalogy
  • PhD

I am primarily interested in understanding the patterns, and underlying processes, of avian diversity. This topic encompasses several fields: historical biogeography, phylogenetics molecular evolution, phylogeography, population genetics and ecology. To answer my questions, I use DNA sequence data gathered from the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes to generate phylogenies from which the biogeographic history and evolution of morphological (e.g. plumage color) and ethological (e.g. foraging behavior) characters are inferred. A big component of my research involves field work to collect samples and gather data about morphological variation and geographic distribution. Hence I have been collecting samples in several countries (Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Laos, Mozambique, South Africa, Vietnam) to answer the questions I am interested in. Part of the field work has been linked to general biodiversity inventories with direct conservation implications (for example: http://www.laplaneterevisitee.org/en).


During my PhD (2004-2006, University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France), I focused on the systematics and historical biogeography of several clades of Old World birds (Picidae, Strigidae, Alcedinidae, Malaconotidae and allies, Campephagidae, Dicruridae and Pycnonotidae) in order to assess the relative contribution of vicariance and dispersal events in shaping biodiversity patterns in the Old World. I used DNA sequence data and Bayesian methods that allow the strict molecular clock hypothesis to be relaxed to investigate if divergence times among lineages endemic to biomes (e.g Australasia, Afrotropics, Indo-Malaya) correspond to major climatic oscillation or tectonic events (uplift of a mountain) that could have promoted the formation of continental faunas.


My first post doc (2007-2009), in collaboration with Dr. Rauri C.K Bowie (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology) and Dr. Timothy M. Crowe (DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa) aimed to 1) test the hypothesis of common phylogeographic structure among co-distributed pan-African species (e.g. Lanius collaris and Dicrurus adsimilis) at different spatial scales (pan African and Southern Africa) and 2) test the hypothesis of common speciation patterns in space and time in two unrelated lineages of woodpeckers (Dendropicos and Geocolaptes/Campethera) with similar species diversity and distribution patterns.


At present, I am working as a post doc at the California Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with Dr. David Mindell and Dr. Jack Dumbacher, on two projects: a species level phylogeny of the Falconidae using multi-locus data and the co-evolution between birds and viruses in Papua New Guinea.

Dr. David Mindell (California Academy of Sciences). Phylogeny of Falconidae and co-evolution with viruses

Dr. John P. Dumbacher. (California Academy of Sciences). Bird-viruses co-evolution.

Dr. Rauri C.K. Bowie (University of California, Berkeley). Biogeography and phylogeography of Afrotropical birds.

Dr. Eric Pasquet (UMR5202, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris). Biogeography of Old World birds.

Dr. Jean-Marc Pons (UMR5202, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris). Biogeography of Old World birds

Dr. Per G.P. Ericson (Natural History Museum of Stockholm). Phylogeny of Piciformes and phylogeography of Indo-Malayan birds

Dr. Jon Fjeldså (University of Copenhagen). Biogeography and phylogeography of Afrotropical birds

Dr. Steven G. Goodman (WWF Antananarivo, Field Museum of Natural History Chicago). Colonisation of Indian Ocean islands and phylogeography of Malagasy species

Dr. Martin Irestedt (Natural History Museum of Stockholm). Passeriformes biogeography

Dr. Ulf Johansson (Natural History Museum of Stockholm). Passeriformes biogeography

Dr. Knud A. Jønsson (University of Copenhagen). Passeriformes biogeography

Dr. Ben Marks. (Texas A&M University). Phylogeny of Alcedinidae and Pycnonotidae

Dr. Martim P. de Melo (University of Cape Town, Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology). Diversification of the Gulf of Guinea birds

Dr. Hector C. Miranda Jr. (Texas Southern University). Biogeography of Indo-Malayan Otus

Dr. Robert G. Moyle. (Kansas University). Phylogeny of Alcedinidae and Pycnonotidae.



Fuchs J., Hassanin A. in press. Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina elisae at Kampot.  Cambodia Bird News.

Fuchs J., Pasquet E., Couloux A., Fjeldså J., Bowie, R.C.K. 2009. A new Indo-Malayan member of the Stenostiridae (Aves: Passeriformes) revealed by multi-locus sequence data: Biogeographical implications for a morphologically diverse clade of flycatchers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53: 384-393. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Pons J.-M, Goodman S.M., Bretagnolle V., Melo M., Bowie R.C.K., Currie D., Safford R., Virani M.Z, Thomsett S., Hija A., Cruaud C., Pasquet E., 2008 Tracing the colonization history of the Indian Ocean scops-owls (Strigiformes: Otus) with further insight into the spatio-temporal origin of the Malagasy avifauna. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 197. Download PDF

Melo M., Fuchs J. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of the Gulf of Guinea Alcedo Kingfishers.  Ibis 150: 633-639. Download PDF

Irestedt M., Fuchs J., Jønsson K.A., Ohlson J.I., Pasquet E., 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 land bridges? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 1218-1222. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Pons J.-M., Ericson P.G.P., Bonillo, C., Couloux, A., Pasquet E., 2008. Molecular support for a rapid cladogenesis of the woodpecker clade Malarpicini, with further insights into the genus Picus (Piciformes: Picinae).  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 34-46. Download PDF

Jønsson K.A., Irestedt M., Fuchs J., Ericson P.G.P., Christidis L., Bowie, R.C.K., Norman J., Pasquet E., 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. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Ericson P.G.P., Pasquet E., 2008. Mitochondrial phylogeographic structure of the white-browed piculet (Sasia ochracea): cryptic genetic differentiation  and endemism in Indochina. Journal of Biogeography 35: 565-575. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Cibois A., Duckworth W.J., Eve R., Robichaud W.G., Tizard T., Van Gansberghe D., 2007  Birds of Phongsaly province and the Nam Ou river (Laos). Forktail 23: 22-86. Download PDF

Pasquet E., Pons J.-M., Fuchs J., Cruaud C., Bretagnolle V., 2007. Evolutionary history and biogeography of the drongos (Dicruridae), a tropical Old World clade of corvoid passerines. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45: 158-167. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Cruaud C., Couloux A., Pasquet E., 2007. Complex biogeographic history of the cuckoo-shrikes and allies (Passeriformes: Campephagidae) revealed by mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 138-153. Download PDF

Moyle R.G., Fuchs J., Pasquet E., Marks B., 2007. Feeding behavior, toe count and the phylogenetic relationships among alcedinine kingfishers (Alcedininae). Journal of Avian Biology 38: 317-326. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Pons J.-M., Pasquet E., Raherilalao M.J., Goodman S.M., 2007. Geographical structure of genetic variation in the Malagasy Scops-Owl inferred from mitochondrial sequence data. Condor 109: 408-418. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Ohlson J.I., Ericson P.G.P, Pasquet E., 2007. Synchronous intercontinental splits between assemblages of woodpeckers suggested by molecular data. Zoologica Scripta 36: 11-25. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Ohlson J.I., Ericson P.G.P., Pasquet E., 2006. Molecular phylogeny and biogeographic history of the piculets (Piciformes: Picumninae). Journal of Avian Biology 37: 487-496. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Fjeldså J., Pasquet E., 2006. An ancient African radiation of corvoid birds (Aves; Passeriformes) detected by mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data. Zoologica Scripta 35:375-385. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Fjeldså J., Bowie R.C.K., Voelker G., Pasquet E., 2006. The African warbler genus Hyliota as a lost lineage in the Oscine songbird tree: Molecular support for an African origin of the Passerida. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39: 186-197. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Fjeldså J., Pasquet E., 2005. The use of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data in assessing the taxonomic status of the Endangered Uluguru Bush Shrike Malaconotus alius. Ibis 147: 717-724. Download PDF

Fuchs J., Bowie R.C.K, Fjeldså J., Pasquet E., 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of the African bush-shrikes and helmet-shrikes (Passeriformes: Malaconotidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33: 428-439. Download PDF


  • Jérôme Fuchs
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118
  • 415-379-5289 (direct)