Seabird island conservation, invasive vertebrate eradication

Our lab studies the dynamics of islands recovering from invasive vertebrate removal. We study this across multiple taxa (e.g. seabirds, invertebrates, flora), ecosystems (terrestrial and marine), and from an ecosystem functioning perspective.

Invasive vertebrates have been devastating to island ecosystems and island-breeding species.  The majority of the world’s extinctions have occurred on islands and were caused by invasive vertebrates.  Invasive vertebrates have now been eradicated from over 700 islands globally with the goal of restoring island ecosystems.  However, relatively little research has been conducted on how island ecosystem functioning, flora, and fauna have recovered following these conservation measures.  Moreover, little research has conducted to document how targeted restoration of ecosystem engineers on islands can help speed the recovery process.  In particular, colonial seabirds are often major ecosystem drivers on islands as they feed in the marine environment and bring marine-derived nutrients back to otherwise nutrient-limited islands where they nest and rear their young.  Invasive vertebrates often negatively impact seabirds, reducing the nutrients they provide, and thus resulting in ecosystem-wide effects.  Seabirds can be restored following invasive vertebrate eradication to help speed seabird recolonization or to bolster populations that survived invasive vertebrates.  Our research on island ecosystem recovery has documented ecosystem recovery on islands with and without seabird restoration to evaluate its efficacy in speeding recovery; has looked at ecosystem recovery trajectories and timeframes; and has documented the response of artificial seabird nests to vertebrate eradications.

Ongoing Projects Include:

1. Quantifying the effects of early competition on fitness and niche specialization: A natural experiment in a restored ecosystem.

2. Measuring the effects of nutrient subsidies on the near coastal environment of recovering seabird islands

Relevant Publications:

Brooke, M de L., E. Bonnaud, B.J. Dilley, B. Flint, N.D. Holmes, H.P. Jones, P. Provost, G. Rocamora, P.G. Ryan, C. Surman, R.T. Buxton. Seabird population change following mammal eradications on islands. In press at Animal Conservation.

Rocha, R., Sequeira, M.M., Douglas, L.R., Gouveia, M., Jardim, R., Jesus, J., Jones, H.P. and Russo, D. 2017. Extinctions of introduced game species on oceanic islands: curse for hunters or conservation opportunities?  Biodiversity and Conservation 1-4.

Jones, H.P., N.D. Holmes, S.H.M. Butchart, B.R. Tershy, P.J. Kappes*, I. Corkery, A. Aguirre-Muñoz, D.P. Armstrong, E. Bonnaud, A.A. Burbidge, K. Campbell, F. Courchamp, P. Cowan, R.J. Cuthbert, S. Ebbert, P. Genovesi, G.R. Howald, B.S. Keitt, S.W. Kress, C.M. Miskelly, S. Oppel, S. Poncet, M.J. Rauzon, G. Rocamora, J.C. Russell, A. Samaniego-Herrera, P.J. Seddon, D.R. Spatz*, D.R. Towns, and D.A. Croll. 2016. Invasive mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(15), 4033-4038. 

Russell, J. C., H. P. Jones, D. P. Armstrong, F. Courchamp, P. J. Kappes*, P. J. Seddon, S. Oppel, M. J. Rauzon, P. E. Cowan, G. Rocamora, P. Genovesi, E. Bonnaud, B. S. Keitt, N. D. Holmes, and B. R. Tershy. Importance of lethal control of invasive predators for island conservation. 2016. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 670-672.

Schweizer, D., Jones, H. P., & Holmes, N. D. 2016. Literature review and meta analysis of vegetation responses to goat and European rabbit eradications on islands. Pacific Science, 70(1), 55-71.

Borrelle, S.B.*, Buxton, R.T., Jones, H.P. and Towns, D.R. 2015. A GIS-based decision making approach for prioritizing seabird management following predator eradication. Restoration Ecology, 23(5): 580-587.

Kappes, P.* and H.P. Jones. 2014. Integrating seabird restoration and mammal eradication programs on islands to maximize conservation gains. Biodiversity Conservation, 23(2): 503-509.

Jones, H.P. and Kress, S.W. 2012. Global review of active seabird restoration projects. Journal of Wildlife Management, 76(1): 2-9. 

Jones, H.P.  2010.  Seabird islands take mere decades to recover following rat eradication. Ecological Applications 20(8): 2075-2080.  


Jones, H.P. 2010.  Prognosis for ecosystem recovery following rodent eradication and seabird restoration in an island archipelago.  Ecological Applications 20(5):1204-1216.  

Jones, H.P. and O.J. Schmitz.  2009. Rapid recovery of damaged ecosystems. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.000565


Jones, H.P., B.R. Tershy, E.S. Zavaleta, D.A. Croll, B.S. Keitt, and M.E. Finkelstein.  2008.  Severity of the effects of invasive rats on seabirds: A global review. Conservation Biology 22(1): 16-26.  

Jones, H.P., R.W. Henry III, G.R. Howald, B.R. Tershy, and D.A. Croll (2005).  Predation of artificial Xantus’s Murrelet nests before and after black rat eradication.  Environmental Conservation 32(4): 320-325.