Rodents on islands are known to exhibit differing spatial ecology than is seen in mainland habitats and in the case of invasive rats this may affect their impacts on native species. Ship rats’ (Rattus rattus) home range size and population densities were measured on Big South Cape Island/Taukihepa, an island with a dense seabird colony, near South-west Stewart Island. Home ranges for both male and female rats were much smaller than had been recorded for virtually all sites in New Zealand.
Nutrients brought to land by seabirds may provide important subsidies to terrestrial ecosystems. We measured the total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of soils from islands with and without seabirds in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand to investigate one means by which seabirds may influence island ecosystem function. Isotope analysis revealed a seabird influence in island soils on the seabird-inhabited islands. However, significant differences in TKN were not related to seabird presence or absence.
Tiritiri Matangi Island (‘Tiri’) in the Hauraki Gulf of the northern North Island of New Zealand was deforested, pastorally farmed, and then farming was abandoned in 1972. This history is typical of many northern New Zealand islands. The island’s modern history is less typical; since 1984 it has been the focus of a major restoration project involving thousands of volunteers. No original forest remains, but grazed secondary forest in a few valley bottoms covered about 20% of the island when farming was abandoned. Tiri’s wild vascular flora was recorded in the 1900s and again in the 1970s.