Albatross Taxonomy

Subject: Albatross Taxonomy
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 12:36:29 +1000
Not so long ago there was discussion on birding-aus in relation to
albatross taxonomy, and in particular the analysis offered in 

Robertson, C.J.R. & Nunn, G.B.(1998). Towards a new taxonomy for
albatrosses. Pp.13 - 19 in Albatross biology and conservation. Surrey Beatty
& Sons, Sydney.
which split them wholesale. Of course, Nunn was working within the
phylogentic species concept.  But he refused to publish or to supply the
distances matrix on which his trees were based.  So those of us who follow
the multidimensional Biological Species Concept were not sure whether the
splits would be valid outside the PSC.

Michael Wink and I found Nunn's cytochrome b sequences in genbank, and ran
the distance matrix.  This shows clearly that NONE of the splits are valid.
 This include Amsterdam Albatross, which is clearly a subspecies of exulans.

John Penhallurick
Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
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