Waterfowl, macrophytes, and the clear water state of shallow lakes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

Abstract

The importance of lake ecosystems for waterfowl remains a topic of debate. In order to assess how temporal variations in lake features, specifically shifts between alternative stable states, may interact with the waterfowl fauna, we performed a long-term (22 years) study of the shallow Lake Krankesjon, southern Sweden. Lower total numbers of waterfowl occurred during periods with low macrophyte cover and turbid water, than when submersed macrophytes flourished and the water was clear. Some specific functional groups of waterfowl, such as herbivores, invertebrate, and fish feeders, showed a positive relation to clear water and high macrophyte cover. Hence, our data suggest that some migratory waterfowl may select lakes based on water quality, thereby adjusting their large-scale migratory routes. On the other hand, omnivorous waterfowl exhibited their highest abundances during turbid conditions. Furthermore, waterfowl not primarily relying on food from the lake showed no response to fluctuations in turbidity or macrophyte cover, but followed regional trends in population dynamics. In our study lake, L. Krankesjon, we estimated that waterfowl remove less than 3% of the macrophyte biomass during a stable clear-water state with lush macrophyte beds. However, during transition periods between alternative stable states, when macrophyte biomass is lower and the plants already stressed, the consumption rate of waterfowl may have a stronger effect on lake ecosystem functioning.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Herbivory, Grazing, Macrophyte, Lake, Alternative stable state, Waterfowl, Bird
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHydrobiologia
PublisherSpringer
Pages101-109
Volume646
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Event6th Shallow Lakes Congress 2008 - Punta del Este, Uruguay
Duration: 2008 Nov 232008 Nov 28

Publication series

Name
Number1
Volume646
ISSN (Print)0018-8158
ISSN (Electronic)1573-5117

Conference

Conference6th Shallow Lakes Congress 2008
CountryUruguay
CityPunta del Este
Period2008/11/232008/11/28

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