Invasive rats alter woody seedling composition on seabird-dominated islands in New Zealand

@article{GrantHoffman2009InvasiveRA,
  title={Invasive rats alter woody seedling composition on seabird-dominated islands in New Zealand},
  author={Madeline N. Grant-Hoffman and Christa P.H. Mulder and Peter J. Bellingham},
  journal={Oecologia},
  year={2009},
  volume={163},
  pages={449-460}
}
Invasive rats (Rattus rattus, R. norvegicus, R. exulans) have large impacts on island habitats through both direct and indirect effects on plants. Rats affect vegetation by extirpating burrowing seabirds through consumption of eggs, chicks, and adults. These seabirds serve as ecosystem engineers, affecting plant communities by burying and trampling seeds and seedlings, and by altering microclimate. Rats also directly affect plant communities by consuming seeds and seedlings. We studied the… 

Figures, Tables, and Topics from this paper

Impacts of rodent eradication on seed predation and plant community biomass on a tropical atoll
TLDR
Documenting the variation in invasive rodent diet items, along with long-term surveys, can help prioritize island eradications where restoration is most likely to be successful, and should be considered in evaluating the costs and benefits of eradication.
Barriers to seed and seedling survival of once-common Hawaiian palms: the role of invasive rats and ungulates
TLDR
Using field and captive feeding trials, experimentally determined the vulnerability of seeds and seedlings of two species of Pritchardia, consistent with the hypothesis generated from palaeoecological studies indicating that introduced rats may have assisted in the demise of native insular palm forests.
Invasive rat eradication strongly impacts plant recruitment on a tropical atoll
TLDR
Comparing native and non-native tree and palm seedling abundance before and after eradication of invasive rats from Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands, Central Pacific Ocean highlights the strong effects that a rat eradication can have on tree recruitment with expected long-term effects on canopy composition.
Leaf damage by herbivores and pathogens on New Zealand islands that differ in seabird densities
TLDR
It is concluded that the fertilisation and disturbance regimes imposed by seabirds do not lead to consistent changes in consumer damage to plants, because of variable responses by both individual plant species and different consumer groups.
Are nesting seabirds important determinants of invertebrate community composition on subantarctic Adams Island?
TLDR
Ground invertebrates do appear to influence invertebrate community composition on Adams Island, but the direction of this effect appears to be taxa-specific, and further sampling with spatial replication of colonies is required to determine the extent to which these apparentTaxa- specific responses are consistent across colonies and habitats.
Native woody plant recruitment in lowland forests invaded by non-native ground cover weeds and mammals
TLDR
It is suggested that attempts to facilitate native seedling recruitment by sowing native seeds will be most successful where ground cover weeds and introduced mammals are low in abundance.
Habitat as a potential factor limiting the recovery of a population of nocturnal seabirds
We asked whether the lack of a population response by ancient murrelets (Synthliboramphus antiquus) to eradication of rats (Rattus spp.) at Langara Island could be due to a change in vegetative
Release of constraints on nest-site selection in burrow-nesting petrels following invasive rat eradication
TLDR
It is concluded that colony expansion immediately after predator removal is complex, influenced by numerous interacting factors, but may be partly limited by the availability of suitable nesting habitat.
Large-scale rodent control reduces pre- and post-dispersal seed predation of the endangered Hawaiian lobeliad, Cyanea superba subsp. superba (Campanulaceae)
TLDR
Controlling black rats at restoration sites appears integral to the successful restoration of this endangered plant species, and large-scale rat trapping can directly benefit the reproduction of C. superba.
Introduced black rats Rattus rattus on Ile de la Possession (Iles Crozet, Subantarctic): diet and trophic position in food webs
TLDR
The results suggest that rats, which were found at the top of terrestrial food chains, may have a direct role on a such simplified ecosystem, by preying on the most abundant and largest body-sized terrestrial invertebrates,—e.g. the keystone species Pringleophaga spp.
...
1
2
3
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 79 REFERENCES
Direct and indirect effects of rats: does rat eradication restore ecosystem functioning of New Zealand seabird islands?
TLDR
Compared three groups of islands in New Zealand, differences between island groups in soil and leaf chemistry and leaf production were largely explained by burrow densities, and community structure of woody seedlings differed by rat history and burrow density.
Herbivory in invasive rats: criteria for food selection
TLDR
It is found that large size and hard seed coats may deter rat feeding, but unpalatable chemicals may be even more effective deterrents to rats.
Predation of seabirds by invasive rats: multiple indirect consequences for invertebrate communities
TLDR
It is predicted that if rats are eradicated from islands, components of below-ground invertebrate dependent on seabird-mediated soil conditions may take considerable time to recover because they require subsequent seabirds recolonisation.
Indirect effects of invasive predators on litter decomposition and nutrient resorption on seabird-dominated islands.
TLDR
The results show that the effects of invasive predators on native prey can have substantial indirect effects on variables relevant for ecosystem functioning, and are probably widespread.
Severity of the effects of invasive rats on seabirds: a global review.
  • H. Jones, B. Tershy, +4 authors G. Howald
  • Biology, Medicine
    Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2008
TLDR
Assessment of the effects of rats on seabirds can be improved by data derived from additional experimental studies, with emphasis on understudied seabird families such as Sulidae,Phalacrocoracidae, Spheniscidae, Fregatidae, Pelecanoididae, Phaethontidae, and Diomedeidae and evaluation of rat impacts in tropical regions.
Marine Birds on Land: A Review of Plant Biomass, Species Richness, and Community Composition in Seabird Colonies
TLDR
Significant changes in plant communities in seabird colonies appear to result mainly from altered soil nutrient concentrations and pH, increased physical disturbance, and seed dispersal by seabirds and humans, however, few studies have rigorously studied the relative importance of these alterations.
Invasive rodents on islands: integrating historical and contemporary ecology
TLDR
Eco-logical, palaeoecological, and archaeological studies have documented the direct and indirect impacts of rodents on native plants and animals, and implicated them in transforming many island environments, but archaeologists and historians have viewed human-induced impacts on island environments largely as consequences of forest clearing and the introduction of a portmanteau biota.
Effects of possums and rats on seedling establishment at two forest sites in New Zealand
TLDR
Exclosures can be effectively used to experimentally separate the impacts of different herbivores on seedling establishment in exclosures with mesh of two different sizes to exclude possums and rats at two mainland forest sites near Dunedin.
Depression of tree recruitment by the Pacific rat (Rattus exulans Peale) on New Zealand's northern offshore islands
Recruitment of tree populations on islands with and without Rattus exulans Peale, and recruitment changes on islands before and after rat eradication are compared using size-class analyses. Seedling
Mammal invaders on islands: impact, control and control impact
TLDR
It is difficult to predict the outcome of the removal of key species, such as a top predator, given the numerous and complex population interactions among island species, and justifies careful pre‐control study and preparation prior to initiating the eradication of an alien species, in order to avoid an ecological catastrophe.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...