Eco Vista Photography and Research Ltd

Bay View, New Zealand

Eco Vista Photography and Research Ltd

Bay View, New Zealand
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Ismar S.M.H.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Ismar S.M.H.,University of Auckland | Daniel C.,University of Auckland | Igic B.,University of Auckland | And 12 more authors.
Wilson Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2014

Data on the extent to which the sexes may differ in their phenotypes are critical for a full understanding of the biology and management of any species. We previously quantified behavioral differences and vocal similarities between genetically-sexed Australasian Gannets (Morus serrator). Here, we quantify size monomorphism and plumage dichromatism in this socially monogamous, colonial seabird. In comparison with other sulids, the Australasian Gannet is characterized by low sexual dimorphism indices in various size metrics, and most physical dimensions are statistically similar between adult female and male gannets. In contrast, we found indications of sexually dichromatic plumage traits in the melanin-based, rusty head plumage and in the black-and-white tail feathers. To our knowledge, these findings constitute the first evidence of melanin-generated sexual plumage dichromatism in a size monomorphic seabird species. Using opsin-sequencing, we also confirm that the Australasian Gannet is a visually violet-sensitive species, for which the detection of both gross differences in feather reflectance, and long-wavelength based plumage dichromatism, should be perceptually feasible. However, because of the extensive overlap between females and males in the size and chromatic traits detected here, and in the behavioral and vocal displays reported in previous studies, we advocate for the use of genetic techniques for sex identification in this gannet species. © 2014 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

Silva M.C.,University of Lisbon | Matias R.,University of Exeter | Matias R.,ISPA University | Wanless R.M.,University of Cape Town | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

Analytical methods that apply coalescent theory to multilocus data have improved inferences of demographic parameters that are critical to understanding population divergence and speciation. In particular, at the early stages of speciation, it is important to implement models that accommodate conflicting gene trees, and benefit from the presence of shared polymorphisms. Here, we employ eleven nuclear loci and the mitochondrial control region to investigate the phylogeography and historical demography of the pelagic seabird White-faced Storm-petrel (Pelagodroma marina) by sampling subspecies across its antitropical distribution. Groups are all highly differentiated: global mitochondrial ΦST = 0.89 (P < 0.01) and global nuclear ΦST varies between 0.22 and 0.83 (all P < 0.01). The complete lineage sorting of the mitochondrial locus between hemispheres is corroborated by approximately half of the nuclear genealogies, suggesting a long-term antitropical divergence in isolation. Coalescent-based estimates of demographic parameters suggest that hemispheric divergence of P. marina occurred approximately 840 000 ya (95% HPD 582 000-1 170 000), in the absence of gene flow, and divergence within the Southern Hemisphere occurred 190 000 ya (95% HPD 96 000-600 000), both probably associated with the profound palaeo-oceanographic changes of the Pleistocene. A fledgling sampled in St Helena (tropical South Atlantic) suggests recent colonization from the Northern Hemisphere. Despite the great potential for long-distance dispersal, P. marina antitropical groups have been evolving as independent, allopatric lineages, and divergence is probably maintained by philopatry coupled with asynchronous reproductive phenology and local adaptation. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Robertson B.C.,University of Otago | Stephenson B.M.,Eco Vista Photography and Research Ltd | Ronconi R.A.,Dalhousie University | Goldstien S.J.,University of Canterbury | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2016

The Fregetta storm-petrels generally are regarded to comprise two species: black-bellied storm-petrels F. tropica (monotypic) breed at Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands (46-63°S), and white-bellied storm-petrels F. grallaria breed at south temperate islands (28-37°S), with four recognized subspecies. Confusion surrounds the status of birds at Gough Island (40°S), central South Atlantic, which have been attributed usually to a white-bellied form of black-bellied storm-petrel F. t. melanoleuca. We use cytochrome b and nuclear β-fibrinogen gene sequences to show that F. t. melanoleuca are present during the breeding season at Gough and islands in the nearby Tristan da Cunha archipelago (37°S), exhibiting limited divergence from F. t. tropica. We also show that there is greater diversity among F. grallaria populations, with eastern South Pacific F. g. segethi and F. g. titan differing by c. 0.011, and both differing from western South Pacific nominate F. g. grallaria by c. 0.059. The Tristan archipelago supports a population of F. grallaria closely allied to the nominate form, as well as a distinct form identified as F. g. leucogaster. Further research is needed to assess how F. grallaria and F. tropica segregate in sympatry at Tristan and Gough, and why this is the only location where both species have white-bellies. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

MacLeod L.J.,Landcare Research | MacLeod L.J.,University of Glasgow | Dickson R.,Hawke's Bay Regional Council | Leckie C.,Hawke's Bay Regional Council | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Evidence | Year: 2015

In New Zealand invasive brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula reduce nesting success of native birds and compete with them for food. As an urban biodiversity initiative, intensive possum control was carried out in a residential area on Napier Hill, North Island. Bird species were monitored using five-minute point counts, conducted once before the possum control programme and then annually for a further five years afterwards. Significant increases in the relative abundance of bellbird Anthornis melanura and tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae were attributed to an increase in food supply due to reduced competiton from possums. Kereru Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae numbers remained relatively stable and a significant decline was recorded in the relative abundance of silvereyes Zosterops lateralis. Management of possum populations will be continued to try to further improve native bird abundance on Napier Hill. © 2015, University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.

Rayner M.J.,University of Auckland | Gaskin C.P.,400 Leigh Road | Stephenson B.M.,Eco Vista Photography and Research Ltd | Fitzgerald N.B.,Landcare Research | And 6 more authors.
Marine Ornithology | Year: 2014

We used measurements of brood patch and moult status to estimate the breeding phenology of New Zealand Storm-Petrel, using birds caught at sea within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park near Auckland, New Zealand. Birds caught October-January had completely downy brood patches, whereas birds caught February-April had bare brood patches with an observed male bias in the February sex-ratio, consistent with a female pre-laying exodus typical of petrels and with the existence of an unknown colony in the region. No birds captured exhibited primary moult, which is known to occur in storm-petrels during their non-breeding season. Our data support the conclusion that the New Zealand storm-petrel breeds during January-June in northern New Zealand and that field surveys for the species on offshore islands in this region during this period are warranted.

Robertson B.C.,University of Otago | Robertson B.C.,University of Canterbury | Stephenson B.M.,Eco Vista Photography and Research Ltd. | Goldstien S.J.,University of Canterbury
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2011

In 2003, birds similar to the extinct New Zealand storm-petrel Oceanites maorianus were observed in Hauraki Gulf NZ, raising the possibility of rediscovery after 150. years. O. maorianus has and continues to be surrounded by taxonomic uncertainty, being variously described as a distinct genus, a distinct species, or merely a plumage variant. This uncertainty has hindered conservation planning and funding for the species. Here we examine the taxonomic identity of the rediscovered birds and museum specimens using phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial (1143. bp cytochrome b) and nuclear (890. bp β-fibrinogen) genes. Using cytochrome b sequence amplified from the 150+ year old specimens, we found that the extant and museum O. maorianus were the same taxon (0.01 genetic distance), with both differing from all other storm-petrel taxa. Using both genes, we examined the phylogenetic affinities of O. maorianus to the Oceanitinae and Hydrobatinae storm-petrels finding that O. maorianus was more closely aligned to Fregetta (0.08-0.09) than Oceanites (0.11-0.12), thereby confirming its status as a distinct taxon, not a plumage variant of O. oceanicus. Our analysis verifies that the previously presumed extinct New Zealand storm-petrel has been rediscovered and can now be assigned a conservation priority commensurate with its critically endangered status. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

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