An international scientific team revealed, for the first time, the significant impact that rats have had since their arrival in the Indian Ocean on birds and marine creatures, as their presence changed the behavior of some fish and threatened the marine ecosystem there.
According to a study led by researchers from the British University of Lancaster, with the participation of researchers from the Canadian Lakehead University, and published in the scientific journal Nature Evolution and Ecology, the chain reaction that resulted from the arrival of rats that were transported in the stores of merchant ships during the 17th century, to small islands in the ocean The Indian led to the elimination of some species of birds, and amazingly changed the behavior of some fish in the marine ecosystem.
During the study, which compared 5 areas invaded by rats, and 5 areas devoid of rodents, the researchers revealed the effect of this chain reaction. 251 times less in the ecosystem around the islands.
The researchers confirmed that the main victims of the arrival of rats to the islands of the Indian Ocean are the seabirds that breed and nest there, and the plants became less abundant as a result of the lack of bird droppings, and the fish were forced to expand on these islands infested with rodents, in search of food that declined due to the decrease in droppings, along with algae.
Researcher Rachel Jean confirmed that the study provided many evidences that the rats that invade these islands have a significant impact on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, whether in terms of the distribution and abundance of marine species, or in terms of their genetic characteristics, or their ability to resist climate change, which It requires the necessity of eliminating them to achieve multiple benefits to the ecosystem.
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