Document Type



Islands house a majority of the world’s biodiversity and are thus critical for biodiversity conservation. Seabird nesting colonies provide nutrients that are integral to maintain island biodiversity and ecosystem function. Invasive rats destroy seabird colonies and thus the island ecosystems that depend on seabird-derived nutrients. After rat eradication, it is unclear how long ecosystem recovery may take, although some speculate on the order of centuries. I looked at ecosystem recovery along a chronosequence of islands that had 12–22 years to recover following rat eradication. I show that soil, plant, and spider marine-derived nitrogen levels and C:N ratios take mere decades to recover even after centuries-long rat invasion. Moreover, active seabird restoration could speed recovery even further, giving much hope to quickly conserve many endemic species on islands worldwide.

Publication Date


Original Citation

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


Department of Biological Sciences

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences






Ecological Society of America



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.