Island Restoration

broadcasting biomarker, non-toxic bait

I am very interested in island restoration, particularly establishing a baseline before restoration and assessing recovery after removing invasive or introduced species. On the Juan Fernández Islands in Chile, introduced cats kill two species of petrels endemic to Isla Alejandro Selkirk. There are still no estimates for the magnitude of this mortality or how it affects the demographics of these populations, particularly the Stejneger’s petrel.  The Stejneger’s Petrel is smaller, breeds in smaller sub-colonies and has a lower overall population size than the larger, more numerous Juan Fernández petrel.

In 2008, Matthew McKown (UC Santa Cruz) and I traveled to Palmyra Atoll to learn more about the effects of rats on island ecosystems. Located in the Central Pacific Ocean (5.8°N and 162.3 °W), Palmyra is both a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge and a private preserve of The Nature Conservancy. We assisted Island Conservation with a bait biomarker trial to empirically validate the bait density needed to eradicate all rats from the Atoll. Funding for our research was provided by Island Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and ‘SEAPRE’, a grant from National Science Foundation’s Research Coordination Network. In 2011, a rat eradication program was implemented and all indications in October 2012 are that it was successful.

On Haida Gwaii, I worked with Laskeek Bay Conservation Society to assess the effects of introduced deer on offshore temperate island ecosystems as well as inventory rare and endemic plants on these islands to document the small niche they occupy in the presence of deer. We also undertook annual surveys for racoons on the seabird colonies and worked with BC Ministry of Environment to control the populations and reduce Ancient Murrelet mortalities.

This research has been published in a Oxford University Press book, University of Washington Press book, the journal Bioscience and in Laskeek Bay Conservation Society technical reports.

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