Island restoration to rebuild seabird populations and amplify coral reef functioning

Dunn, Ruth E. and Benkwitt, Cassandra E. and Maury, Olivier and Barrier, Nicolas and Carr, Peter and Graham, Nicholas A. J. (2024) Island restoration to rebuild seabird populations and amplify coral reef functioning. Conservation Biology. ISSN 0888-8892

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Mobile organisms like seabirds can provide important nutrient flows between ecosystems, but this connectivity has been interrupted by the degradation of island ecosystems. Island restoration (via invasive species eradications and the restoration of native vegetation) can reestablish seabird populations and their nutrient transfers between their foraging areas, breeding colonies, and adjacent nearshore habitats. Its diverse benefits are making island restoration increasingly common and scalable to larger islands and whole archipelagos. We identified the factors that influence breeding seabird abundances throughout the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean and conducted predictive modeling to estimate the abundances of seabirds that the archipelago could support under invasive predator eradication and native vegetation restoration scenarios. We explored whether the prey base exists to support restored seabird populations across the archipelago, calculated the nitrogen that restored populations of seabirds might produce via their guano, and modeled the cascading conservation gains that island restoration could provide. Restoration was predicted to increase breeding pairs of seabirds to over 280,000, and prey was predicted to be ample to support the revived seabird populations. Restored nutrient fluxes were predicted to result in increases in coral growth rates, reef fish biomasses, and parrotfish grazing and bioerosion rates. Given these potential cross‐ecosystem benefits, our results support island restoration as a conservation priority that could enhance resilience to climatic change effects, such as sea‐level rise and coral bleaching. We encourage the incorporation of our estimates of cross‐ecosystem benefits in prioritization exercises for island restoration.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Conservation Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? nutrientes transecosistémicosespecie invasorarestauración de hábitatinvasive specieshabitat restorationresiliencetrópicosprocesos ecológicos热带入侵物种tropics生态过程恢复力栖息地恢复resilienciaecological process跨生态系统的营养物质energeticscross‐ecosystem nutrientsenergéticos能量学ec ??
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19 Jun 2024 08:35
Last Modified:
27 Jun 2024 00:57