Subspecific identification of the Great Lakes' first Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) using DNA

Jeffrey H. Skevington, James Pawlicki, Scott Kelso, Kevin C.R. Kerr, Marcie Jacklin


The first Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) recorded in the Great Lakes basin was discovered on Lake Erie near the source of the Niagara River on 7 October 2013 by J. P. Morphologic evidence suggested that this bird was an adult female of the nominate Atlantic subspecies. We obtained genomic DNA from feces left by the bird. Mitochondrial DNA from the control region (CR2) was sequenced and compared with extensive CR2 data for Brown Booby available in GenBank; this corroborated the morphologic hypothesis. This is the first time that a vagrant bird in Canada has been identified using DNA extracted from feces.


Brown Booby; Sula leucogaster; Great Lakes; distribution; vagrant; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA; new record; Ontario; DNA extraction; feces; fecal sample; DNA identification

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