Posts written by Alan Tennyson

Were broad-billed prions from The Snares part of the massive die-off of this species in 2011?

  • South Bay Snares
  • Dead skua prey remains
  • Skuas feeding
  • Broad-billed prion chick, Snares Island. Te Papa

This was one of the key questions that we were trying to answer when four Te Papa scientists – Colin Miskelly, Antony Kusabs, Jean-Claude Stahl and I – set off for the subantarctic Snares Islands in November-December 2013.  The Snares are one of the world’s great seabird islands and broad-billed prions – a small blue-and-white… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 8. Prion evolution

  • Fossil bones of fairy prions are abundant in some South Island West Coast caves showing that the species nested there in huge numbers before humans brought rats to New Zealand.  Photo: Te Papa collections, Alan Tennyson
  • Alan Tennyson with a South Island Giant Moa leg bone. Photo © JC Stahl
  • The evolutionary history of prions is poorly understood but prions have been riding the winds of the southern oceans for at least the last 4 million years.  Photo: Fairy Prion, Philip Griffin, NZ Birds Online
  • The blue petrel is a close relative of prions but unlike prions it has a long narrow beak and a white, rather than black tip to its tail.  Photo: South Atlantic, David Boyle, NZ Birds Online

Here is the final instalment in our series of blogs all about prion biology! This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd (today!) at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For… Read more »