Killing Rats Could Save Coral Reefs

The much maligned rat is not a creature many would associate with coral reefs. But scientists studying reefs on tropical islands say the animals directly threaten the survival of these ecosystems. From a report: A team working on the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean found that invasive rats on the islands are a “big problem” for coral reefs. Rats decimate seabird populations, in turn decimating the volume of bird droppings — a natural coral fertiliser. The findings are published in Nature. Scientists now advocate eradicating rats from all of the islands to protect these delicate marine habitats.

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