Baseline Ecological Research

In 2005 a team of researchers and students from the Department of Botany at the University of Otago undertook baseline research on the vegetation, bird and invertebrate life on Pomona and Rona Islands. This research allows us to monitor the improvements in vegetation, bird and invertebrate life on both islands as a result of our pest eradication programme.

Vegetation
Five permanent vegetation plots have been laid out on Pomona Island and two on Rona Island and the types and numbers of different plant species in each recorded.  A total of 73 different plant species have been found on Pomona Island compared to 35 on Rona Island. Lists of the key species found on both islands are available in pdf form here. The difference in species number between the islands is due to the larger size of Pomona Island and the greater diversity in habitat. The inclusion of permanent vegetation plots on the islands allows us to repeat the research at regular intervals so that we can directly measure the regeneration taking place on Pomona and Rona Islands.

Birdlife
Prior to the pest eradication programme, five minute bird counts were conducted at each of the vegetation plots on Pomona and Rona Islands. A total of 20 different species were recorded on each island.  The most common species on both islands were tui, grey warbler and tomtit. Overall there was a higher number of birds on Rona Island compared to Pomona Island. This can be attributed to the fewer number of pest species present on Rona Island.

A full list of the birds seen and heard on Pomona and Rona Islands is available in pdf format as is the list of plant species.
Download the bird list or plant list.

Regular bird counts are completed on both islands several times a year. Comparisons with the baseline research data allow us to directly see the positive impacts on the bird life on Pomona and Rona Islands since the eradication of pests.

Invertebrates
Part of the baseline ecological research comprised a study of insects, flies, bugs and spiders on Pomona and Rona Islands. A large number of different species were caught using methods such as light traps, nets and pitfall traps. Improvements in the number of invertebrate species, especially weta, are already being see on on both islands now that pests have been removed.

Thanks to the Leslie Hutchins Conservation Foundation for supporting this important baseline research project.
Pomona Island Charitable Trust
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Pomona Island Charitable Trust
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