10 Works

A framework for mapping the distribution of seabirds by integrating tracking, demography and phenology

Ana P. B. Carneiro, Elizabeth J. Pearmain, Steffen Oppel, Thomas A. Clay, Richard A. Phillips, Anne-Sophie Bonnet-Lebrun, Ross M. Wanless, Edward Abraham, Yvan Richard, Joel Rice, Jonathan Handley, Tammy E. Davies, Ben J. Dilley, Peter G. Ryan, Cleo Small, Javier Arata, John P. Y. Arnould, Elizabeth Bell, Leandro Bugoni, Letizia Campioni, Paulo Catry, Jaimie Cleeland, Lorna Deppe, Graeme Elliott, Amanda Freeman … & Maria P. Dias
1. The identification of geographic areas where the densities of animals are highest across their annual cycles is a crucial step in conservation planning. In marine environments, however, it can be particularly difficult to map the distribution of species, and the methods used are usually biased towards adults, neglecting the distribution of other life-history stages even though they can represent a substantial proportion of the total population. 2. Here we develop a methodological framework for...

Data from: Oldest, smallest and phylogenetically most basal pelagornithid, from the early Paleocene of New Zealand, sheds light on the evolutionary history of the largest flying birds

Gerald Mayr, Vanesa De Pietri, Leigh Love, Al Mannering & Richard Scofield
The Cenozoic Pelagornithidae, or pseudotoothed birds, are characterized by unique bony projections along the cutting edges of the beak. These birds were previously known from late Paleocene to Pliocene fossil sites and some species reached wingspans up to 6.4 metres. Here we describe a partial skeleton of a small-sized pelagornithid from the early Paleocene of New Zealand. Protodontopteryx ruthae, gen. et sp. nov. is the oldest record of the clade, the smallest known species, and...

Data from: Subsistence practices, past biodiversity, and anthropogenic impacts revealed by New Zealand-wide ancient DNA survey

Frederik V. Seersholm, Theresa L. Cole, Alicia Grealy, Nicolas J. Rawlence, Karen Greig, Michael Knapp, Michael Stat, Anders J. Hansen, Luke J. Easton, Lara Shepherd, Alan J. D. Tennyson, R. Paul Scofield, Richard Walter & Michael Bunce
New Zealand’s geographic isolation, lack of native terrestrial mammals, and Gondwanan origins make it an ideal location to study evolutionary processes. However, since the archipelago was first settled by humans (c. 1280 AD), its unique biodiversity has been under pressure, and today an estimated 49% of the terrestrial avifauna is extinct. Current efforts to conserve the remaining fauna rely on a better understanding of the composition of past ecosystems, as well as the causes and...

Data from: Moa diet fits the bill: virtual reconstruction incorporating mummified remains and prediction of biomechanical performance in avian giants

Marie R. G. Attard, Laura A. B. Wilson, Trevor H. Worthy, Paul Scofield, Peter Johnston, William C. H. Parr & Stephen Wroe
The moa (Dinornithiformes) are large to gigantic extinct terrestrial birds of New Zealand. Knowledge about niche partitioning, feeding mode and preference among moa species is limited, hampering palaeoecological reconstruction and evaluation of the impacts of their extinction on remnant native biota, or the viability of exotic species as proposed ecological ‘surrogates'. Here we apply three-dimensional finite-element analysis to compare the biomechanical performance of skulls from five of the six moa genera, and two extant ratites,...

Data from: Phylogenomic reclassification of the world’s most venomous spiders (Mygalomorphae, Atracinae), with implications for venom evolution

Marshal Hedin, Shahan Derkarabetian, Martín J. Ramírez, Cor Vink & Jason E. Bond
Here we show that the most venomous spiders in the world are phylogenetically misplaced. Australian atracine spiders (family Hexathelidae), including the notorious Sydney funnel-web spider Atrax robustus, produce venom peptides that can kill people. Intriguingly, eastern Australian mouse spiders (family Actinopodidae) are also medically dangerous, possessing venom peptides strikingly similar to Atrax hexatoxins. Based on the standing morphology-based classification, mouse spiders are hypothesized distant relatives of atracines, having diverged over 200 million years ago. Using...

Data from: Geographically contrasting biodiversity reductions in a widespread New Zealand seabird

Nicolas J. Rawlence, Martyn Kennedy, Christian N. K. Anderson, Stefan Prost, Charlotte E. Till, Ian Smith, R. Paul Scofield, Alan J. D. Tennyson, Jill Hamel, Chris Lalas, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith, Jonathan M. Waters & Ian W. G. Smith
Unravelling prehistoric anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity represents a key challenge for biologists and archaeologists. New Zealand's endemic Stewart Island Shag (Leucocarbo chalconotus) comprises two distinct phylogeographic lineages, currently restricted to the country's south and southeast. However, fossil and archaeological remains suggest a far more widespread distribution at the time of Polynesian settlement ca. 1280 AD, encompassing much of coastal South Island. We used modern and ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating, and Bayesian modelling, to assess the...

Data from: Human-mediated extirpation of the unique Chatham Islands sea lion and implications for the conservation management of remaining New Zealand sea lion populations

Nicolas J. Rawlence, Catherine J. Collins, Christian N. K. Anderson, Justin J. Maxwell, Ian W. G. Smith, Bruce C. Robertson, Michael Knapp, Katherine Ann Horsburgh, Jo-Ann L. Stanton, R. Paul Scofield, Alan J. D. Tennyson, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith & Jonathan M. Waters
While terrestrial megafaunal extinctions have been well characterized worldwide, our understanding of declines in marine megafauna remains limited. Here, we use ancient DNA analyses of prehistoric (<1450–1650 AD) sea lion specimens from New Zealand's isolated Chatham Islands to assess the demographic impacts of human settlement. These data suggest there was a large population of sea lions, unique to the Chatham Islands, at the time of Polynesian settlement. This distinct mitochondrial lineage became rapidly extinct within...

Data from: A critical evaluation of how ancient DNA bulk bone metabarcoding complements traditional morphological analysis of fossil assemblages

Alicia C. Grealy, Matthew C. McDowell, Paul Scofield, Dáithí C. Murray, Diana A. Fusco, James Haile, Gavin J. Prideaux & Michael Bunce
When pooled for extraction as a bulk sample, the DNA within morphologically unidentifiable fossil bones can, using next-generation sequencing, yield valuable taxonomic data. This method has been proposed as a means to rapidly and cost-effectively assess general ancient DNA preservation at a site, and to investigate temporal and spatial changes in biodiversity; however, several caveats have yet to be considered. We critically evaluated the bulk bone metabarcoding (BBM) method in terms of its: (i) repeatability,...

Behavioural, morphological, and life history shifts during invasive spread

Monica Mowery, Cor Vink, Andrew Mason & Maydianne Andrade
Invasive species are common around the world, but we still do not know which traits are most important for successfully establishing in new environments. Different stages of the invasion process, including transport, introduction, establishment, and spread, can act as selective filters for different combinations of phenotypic traits. Theoretical and empirical studies predict that invasive populations should have suites of behaviours that improve dispersal and spread, including higher boldness, dispersal propensity, and activity levels than native...

Precision glycerine jelly swab for removing pollen from small and fragile insect specimens

Marion Donald, Nic Bolstridge & Johnathon Ridden
Historical datasets can establish a critical baseline of plant-animal interactions for understanding contemporary interactions in the context of global change. Pollen is often incidentally preserved on animals in natural history collections. Techniques for removing pollen from insects have largely been developed for fresh insect specimens or historical specimens with large amounts of pollen on specialised structures. However, many key pollinating insects do not have these specialised structures and thus, there is a need for a...

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