Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 2, pp 379–384 | Cite as

DNA reveals the relationships of the extinct Scarlett’s Shearwater Puffinus spelaeus (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae)

  • Alan J. D. TennysonEmail author
  • Lara D. Shepherd
Original Article


The global phylogenetic relationships of the extinct Scarlett’s Shearwater (Puffinus spelaeus) from New Zealand are examined using ancient DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. The cytochrome b sequences obtained confirm the distinctiveness of this taxon. It forms a strongly-supported clade with two other New Zealand species, suggesting a radiation of similar-sized species in this region. Molecular dating suggests Pleistocene divergences within this clade.


New species Extinction Puffinus Shearwater Procellariiformes New Zealand 


DNA enthüllt die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse des ausgestorbenen Scarlettsturmtauchers Puffinus spelaeus (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae)

Anhand von Sequenzen alter DNA und mittels phylogenetischer Analysen untersuchten wir die weltweiten phylogenetischen Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse des ausgestorbenen neuseeländischen Scarlettsturmtauchers (Puffinus spelaeus). Die ermittelten Cytochrom b-Sequenzen bestätigen die Abgrenzbarkeit dieses Taxons. Zusammen mit zwei anderen neuseeländischen Arten bildet es eine gut gestützte Klade, was auf eine Radiation von Arten ähnlicher Größe in dieser Region hindeutet. Die molekulare Datierung legt pleistozäne Aufspaltungen innerhalb dieser Klade nahe.



Thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. LDS acknowledges the support of a Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


  1. Austin JJ (1996) Molecular phylogenetics of Puffinus shearwaters: preliminary evidence from mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences. Mol Phylogenet Evol 6:77–88CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin JJ, Bretagnolle V, Pasquet E (2004) A global molecular phylogeny of the small Puffinus shearwaters and implications for systematics of the Little-Aubudon’s Shearwater complex. Auk 121:847–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouckaert R, Heled J, Kühnert D, Vaughn T, Wu C-H, Xie D, Suchard MA, Rambaut A, Drummond AJ (2014) BEAST 2: a software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis. PLoS Comput Biol 10(4):e1003537. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003537 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Brooke M (2004) Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Croxall JP, Butchart SHM, Lascelles B, Stattersfield AJ, Sullivan B, Symes A, Taylor P (2012) Seabird conservation status, threats and priority actions: a global assessment. Bird Conserv Int 22:1–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dickinson EC, Remsen JV Jr (2013) The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world, vol 1, 4th edn. Aves Press, EastbourneGoogle Scholar
  7. Gill BJ, Bell BD, Chambers GK, Medway DG, Palma RL, Scofield RP, Tennyson AJD, Worthy TH (2010) Checklist of birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica, 4th edn. Te Papa Press in association with the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington, p x + 501Google Scholar
  8. Guindon S, Dufayard JF, Lefort V, Anisimova M, Hordijk W, Gascuel O (2010) New algorithms and methods to estimate maximum-likelihood phylogenies: assessing the performance of PhyML 3.0. Syst Biol 59:307–321CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Holdaway RN, Worthy TH (1994) A new fossil species of shearwater Puffinus from the Late Quaternary of the South Island, New Zealand, and notes on the biogeography and evolution of the Puffinus gavia superspecies. Emu 94:201–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huelsenbeck J, Ronquist FR (2001) MrBayes: Bayesian inference of phylogeny. Biometrics 17:754–755 Google Scholar
  11. Kocher TD, Thomas WK, Meyer A, Edwards SV, Pääbo S, Villablanca FX, Wilson AC (1989) Dynamics of mitochondrial DNA evolution in animals: amplification and sequencing with conserved primers. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:6196–6200CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Larkin MA, Blackshields G, Brown NP, Chenna R, McGettigan PA, McWilliam H, Valentin F, Wallace IM, Wilm A, Lopez R, Thompson JD, Gibson TJ, Higgins DG (2007) Clustal W and Clustal X version 2.0. Bioinformatics 23:2947–2948CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Maddison WP, Maddison DR (2015) Mesquite: a modular system for evolutionary analysis. Version 3.02. Accessed 20 Aug 2014
  14. Newnham RM, Lowe DJ, Williams PW (1999) Quaternary environmental change in New Zealand: a review. Prog Phys Geogr 23:567–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Posada D (2008) jModelTest: phylogenetic model averaging. Mol Biol Evol 25:1253–1256CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Pyle P, Welch AJ, Fleischer RC (2011) A new species of shearwater (Puffinus) recorded from Midway Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Condor 113:518–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rambaut A, Drummond AJ (2009) Tracer v1.5. Accessed 22 Jan 2015
  18. Ramirez O, Illera JC, Rando JC, Gonzalez-Solis J, Alcover JA, Lalueza-Fox C (2010) Ancient DNA of the extinct Lava Shearwater (Puffinus olsoni) from the Canary Islands reveals incipient differentiation within the P. puffinus complex. PLoS One 5(12):e16072CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Sommer E, Bell M, Bradfield P, Dunlop K, Gaze P, Harrow G, McGahan P, Morrisey M, Walford D, Cuthbert R (2009) Population trends, breeding success and predation rates of Hutton’s shearwater (Puffinus huttoni): a 20 year assessment. Notornis 56:144–153Google Scholar
  20. Swofford DL (2002) PAUP*. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (*and other methods). Version 4. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  21. Tennyson AJD, Martinson P (2007) Extinct birds of New Zealand (revised edition). Te Papa Press, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Tennyson AJD, Cooper JH, Shepherd LD (2015) A new species of extinct Pterodroma petrel (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae) from the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. Bull Br Ornithol Club 135:267–277Google Scholar
  23. Weir JT, Schluter D (2008) Calibrating the avian molecular cloak. Mol Ecol 17:2321–2328CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Welch AJ, Olson SL, Fleischer RC (2014) Phylogenetic relationships of the extinct St Helena petrel, Pterodroma rupinarum Olson, 1975 (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae), based on ancient DNA. Zool J Linn Soc 170:494–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Worthy TH (1997) Quaternary fossil fauna South Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. J R Soc N Z 27:67–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Worthy TH (1998) Quaternary fossil faunas of Otago, South Island, New Zealand. J R Soc N Z 28:421–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Worthy TH, Holdaway RN (1993) Quaternary fossil faunas from caves in the Punakaiki area, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand. J R Soc N Z 23:147–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Worthy TH, Zhao JX (2006) A Late Pleistocene predator-accumulated avifauna from Kids Cave, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand. Alcheringa 30(S1):389–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum of New Zealand Te Papa TongarewaWellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations