Phylogenetic relationships in the goshawk Accipiter [gentilis] superspecies


Min Chai

MSc Student
Advisor: Elisabeth Haring

Natural History Museum Vienna &
Unit for Integrative Zoology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna


In the center of the present study is the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), a member of the family Accipitridae, which is widely distributed in temperate to boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere. The family of Accipitridae is very taxon-rich, comprising up to 14 subfamilies, 65 genera, and 231 species. Accipiter gentilis has been placed within the Accipiter [gentilis] superspecies complex together with Accipiter meyerianus, Accipiter melanoleucus and Accipiter henstii. Currently, 10 subspecies are distinguished within Accipiter gentilis. Mitochondrial analyses among these 10 subspecies showed a deep split into two clades, a Nearctic and a Palearctic clade. To test whether the mitochondrial results are also reflected in nuclear markers we analyzed the intron 7 of β-fibrinogen (β-fibint 7), which is a commonly used nuclear marker, especially in birds. In addition to the analysis of β-fibint 7, genome sequencing by ddRADseq was performed with Illumina technology to further investigate the relationships among the genus Accipiter. However, it turned out that β-fibint 7 is not a suitable marker for the Accipiter [gentilis] superspecies complex as there were only minimal differences among taxa. Data from ddRADseq have been obtained from 96 samples and bioinformatic analyses are currently in progress.