Joshua Penalba



Joshua Peñalba received his Bachelor's Degree (with honors) from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. During that time, he developed his skills and passion for evolutionary biology in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. His undergraduate research focused primarily on phylogenetics and phylogeography of African and North American avifauna with Dr. Rauri Bowie and Dr. Carla Cicero. Additionally, he was involved in various natural museum work and field expeditions during this period. Currently, he is undertaking a PhD with Dr. Craig Moritz and Dr. Leo Joseph through the joint ANU-CSIRO Centre for Biodiversity Analysis.

For more information please visit his personal website:


Research interests

Speciation Genomics

Broadly, my research focuses on multiple aspects of speciation genomics. Speciation genomics focuses on the landscape of genomic divergence through the speciation process. This "landscape" can be influenced by multiple factors including the "drivers" of speciation, the biogeography of the organism, and other stochastic processes. My research aims to use empirical data to test standing hypotheses in speciation theory using modern genomic techniques in an Australian bird suture zone. The focal suture zone is located in northern Queensland, where populations from the Cape York Peninsula and central Queensland are shown to be in secondary contact and some of which hybridise. I will be utulising multiple species from Meliphagoidea (honeyeaters, fairywrens, pardalotes, gerygones, etc.) to take a comparative approach to test these hypotheses. For more information visit:


Voelker, G, J.W. Huntley, J.V. Peñalba, R.C.K. Bowie (2016) “Resolving taxonomic uncertainty and historical biogeographic patterns in Muscicapa flycatchers and their allies” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 94: 618-625 [link]

McEntee, J.P., J.V. Peñalba, C. Werema, E. Mulungu, M. Mbilinyi, D. Moyer, L. Hansen, J. Fjeldsaa, R.C.K. Bowie. (2015) “Social selection parapatry in an Afrotropical sunbird” bioRxiv, 027417 [link]

M. Schweizer, T.F. Wright, J.V. Peñalba, E.E. Schirtzinger, & L. Joseph (2015) "Molecular phylogenetics suggests a New Guinean origin and frequent episodes of founder-event speciation in the nectarivorous lories and lorikeets (Aves: Psittaciformes)." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 90: 34-48 [link

Peñalba, J.V., L.L. Smith, M.A. Tonione, C. Sass, S.M. Hykin, P.L. Skipwith, J.A. McGuire, R.C.K. Bowie, & C. Moritz (2014) "Sequence capture using PCR-generated probes: a cost-effective method of targeted high-throughput sequencing for nonmodel organisms." Molecular Ecology Resources. 14(5), 1000-1010. [link]

Voelker, G.V., J.V. Peñalba, J.W. Huntley, & R.C.K. Bowie (2014) "Diversification in an Afro-Asian songbird clade (Erythropygia-Copsychus) reveals founder-event speciation via trans-oceanic dispersals and a southern to northern colonization pattern in Africa." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 73: 97-105. [link

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