Ques No: 1-10
Read the passage given and answer the following questions. Some words are highlighted for you. Please pay attention.
When the atoll's managers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Conservation, were planning to conduct a rat eradication project, UC Santa Barbara community ecologist Hillary Young and her research group saw it as an unusual opportunity. They had already been visiting Palmyra regularly to track another non-native species, the coconut palm, to see whether it was spreading invasively in the area, potentially impacting the nesting seabird population and changing the island's soil composition. They had plots where they were monitoring trees in various stages of growth and survival; how would the vegetation respond to the eradication of the island's main seed and seedling eater?
"Prior to the eradication, most of the understory of Palmyra was either bare ground, sandy soil or coral rubble or covered in a carpet of ferns," said Ana Millerter Kuile, a graduate student researcher in the Young Group and lead author of a study that appears in the journal Biotropica. The rats _______quick to eat seeds and young plants coming out of the ground, and they frequented the canopy as well, often nesting in the coconut palms and eating coconuts.
Eradication of the rats, which was conducted in 2011, did in fact result in a resurgence of vegetation in Palmyra. And not only that. The Asian tiger mosquito was wiped out, while two species of land crab emerged, adding to the atoll's biodiversity.
But rarely is ecology easily untangled. In the years that followed eradication, Palmyra's understory did indeed fill with juvenile trees as seeds that hit the ground was allowed to take root. Only they were often not the Pisonia or other native trees that would have been the more ideal forests for the native seabirds and animals of Palmyra.
Continuing their restoration of the island, Palmyra's managers were working to remove the vast majority of the island's millions of coconut palms to give local species a chance to dominate, a project that is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anticipating the indirect downstream effects, such as potential shifts in ecology toward other invasive species, could become part of a more holistic island rodent eradication effort, Millerter Kuile said.