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Impact of introduced house mice (Mus musculus) on burrowing seabirds on Steeple Jason and Grand Jason Islands, Falklands, South Atlantic

journal contribution
posted on 2014-11-01, 00:00 authored by M Bolton, A Stanbury, Alastair Baylis, R Cuthbert
Whilst there is good evidence for negative impacts of introduced rat species on island ecosystems, the effects of house mice (Mus musculus) are generally less well documented. In some situations, introduced house mice can exert severe impacts, particularly where this is the only introduced mammal. Here, we examine the distribution, relative abundance and breeding success of small burrowing seabirds on Steeple Jason Island, Falklands, in relation to habitat types and the distribution of house mice which is the sole introduced mammal species, and we make comparisons with seabird distribution and densities on the neighbouring island of Grand Jason where mice are absent. Grey-backed storm-petrel (Garrodia nereis) and Wilson's storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), which due to their extremely small size are likely to be the most vulnerable to mouse predation, were considerably more abundant on mouse-free Grand Jason than on Steeple Jason. Grey-backed storm-petrel, which are typically associated with tussac grass, avoided this habitat on Steeple Jason where it is associated with high levels of house mouse activity (assessed from the proportion of wax baits gnawed overnight), whereas on mouse-free Grand Jason, there was no such avoidance. Wilson's storm-petrel nesting on Steeple Jason suffered high rates of egg and chick loss. Whilst we found evidence for detrimental impacts of house mice on the two small storm-petrel species, there was no relationship between relative mouse activity levels and the distribution or abundance of the larger thin-billed Prion (Pachyptila belcheri). © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

History

Journal

Polar biology

Volume

37

Issue

11

Pagination

1659 - 1668

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Location

Heidelberg, Germany

ISSN

1432-2056

eISSN

1432-2056

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Springer-Verlag

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