Seabird Island Ecology

  • Anderson W
  • Mulder C
  • Ellis J
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Abstract

Seabird islands house large colonies of seabirds thats pend most of their time at sea but return to land to breed. Seabirds deposit large amounts of nutrients of marine origin on islands; many species also disturb soil and vegetation during the buildingandmaintenance of nests. Physical and chemical disturbance by seabirds alters the chemical composition of soils and vegetation and modi- fies plant and animal communities. In many cases, the additional nutrients brought in by seabirds subsidise native animal populations, including endemic species frequently found on remote islands. Introduction of predators such as rats, cats and mustelids has resulted in population decreases or local extinction of many seabird species, and this leads to large changes in nutrient cycling and plant and animal populations. Recent efforts at eradication of introduced seabird predators have been successful, but re-establishment of seabirds and seabird island communities will likely take additional active restoration.

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Authors

  • Wendy B Anderson

  • Christa PH Mulder

  • Julie C Ellis

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