Above Picture: Not a pretty sight. A House Mouse feeds at night on the exposed scalp of a Wandering Albatross chick on Marion Island; photograph by Stefan Schoombie
The Mouse-Free Marion website continues with an occasional series that features scientific papers that give information on attacks by House Mice on the birds of Marion Island, and of their wider roles on sub-Antarctic islands. Here, Andrea Angel, Ross Wanless and John Cooper consider what happens when mice are unhindered by the presence of other introduced rodents (as they are on Marion), showing that they then can have “devastating, irreversible and ecosystem-changing effects”.
Please note that not all the featured publications have appeared in open-access journals. If the publication is not available to download a request can be made to the project at info@mousefreemarion for an electronic copy (PDF) of the manuscript.
The paper’s abstract follows:
Research on the impacts of house mice Mus musculus introduced to islands is patchy across most of the species’ global range, except on islands of the Southern Ocean. Here we review mouse impacts on Southern Ocean islands’ plants, invertebrates, land birds and seabirds, and describe the kinds of effects that can be expected elsewhere. A key finding is that where mice occur as part of a complex of invasive mammals, especially other rodents, their densities appear to be suppressed and rat-like impacts have not been reported. Where mice are the only introduced mammal, a greater range of native biota is impacted and the impacts are most severe, and include the only examples of predation on seabird eggs and chicks. Thus mice can have devastating, irreversible and ecosystem-changing effects on islands, impacts typically associated with introduced rats Rattus spp. Island restoration projects should routinely include mouse eradication or manage mouse impacts.”
Angel, A., Wanless, R.M. & Cooper, J. 2009. Review of impacts of the introduced house mouse on islands in the Southern Ocean: are mice equivalent to rats? Biological Invasions 11: 1743-1754.
John Cooper, Member, Scientific and Technical Advisory Group, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 2 November 2021