The researchers manipulated the rats' sense of smell to keep them from preying on vulnerable species. Credit: Mal Weerakoon (Phys.org)—Rats' keen sense of smell can be exploited to dramatically reduce their attacks on native birds, researchers from the University of Sydney have shown. The technique could be adapted to protect vulnerable species worldwide. Ads by Google AFM Meets Raman - Bruker solutions combine AFM and Raman without compromise - www.bruker-axs.com "Introduced black rats (Rattus rattus) are a major threat to the conservation of many bird species worldwide so a new method for reducing their impact is good news for conservation," said Dr Catherine Price, a Research Associate from the University's School of Biological Sciences.
Price is the lead author of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 16 October. Professor Peter Banks, also from the University's School of Biological Sciences was the other contributing author. "Working with wild populations of black rats in the bushland of Sydney Harbour and Lane Cove National Parks in NSW we discovered that we could increase the survival of birds' eggs without removing a single rat. "An added advantage of this method is that it is not lethal to the predator. That means it is especially suited to protecting a vulnerable prey species when the predator is also endangered or under threat," Price said.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-native-birds-rats.html#jCp