University Of Tasmania
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Range-wide phylogeography of the little penguin (Eudyptula minor): evidence of long-distance dispersal

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posted on 2023-05-17, 00:26 authored by Peuker, AJ, Dann, P, Christopher BurridgeChristopher Burridge
The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), a colonial-nesting seabird that is widespread in New Zealand and southern Australia, has high dispersal potential but exhibits regional variation in morphology, coloration, and breeding phenology. We present a distribution-wide survey of mitochondrial DNA variation in the Little Penguin to document phylogeographic relationships and genetic structuring and to test for concordance with intraspecific taxonomy. Phylogeographic structuring was absent among Australian colonies (27 localities, 94 individuals), but the distribution of haplotypes among colonies was significantly nonrandom (φST = 0.110, P < 0.01). The Australian individuals exhibited close phylogenetic relationships with a subset of New Zealand birds (4 localities, 22 individuals), whereas the remaining New Zealand birds (20 localities, 106 individuals) were phylogenetically distinct, with ≥7% sequence divergence, and exhibited greater levels of genetic variation and geographic structuring (φST = 0.774, P < 0.05). These patterns are consistent with earlier suggestions of an origin in New Zealand followed by recent colonization of Australia and back-dispersal to New Zealand. Extinction and re-establishment processes may have been important factors in the development of genetic structuring across a range of spatiotemporal scales. The genetic data are consistent with suggestions that a single subspecies exists in Australia, but not with the subspecies distributions within New Zealand that have been suggested on the basis of morphology and coloration. © 2009 by The American Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Auk: A Journal of Ornithology








School of Natural Sciences


Amer Ornithologists Union

Place of publication

Ornithological Soc North Amer Po Box 1897, Lawrenc

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity

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