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Article

Monthly Abundance Patterns and the Potential Role of Waterbirds as Phosphorus Sources to a Hypertrophic Baltic Lagoon

1
Marine Research Institute, Klaipeda University, 92294 Klaipeda, Lithuania
2
Department of Chemistry, Life science and Environmental Sustainability, Parma University, 43124 Parma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051392
Received: 7 April 2020 / Revised: 4 May 2020 / Accepted: 11 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
Compared to external loads from tributaries and sediment recycling, the role of waterbirds as phosphorus (P) sources in estuaries is overlooked. We performed monthly ship-based surveys of waterbird abundance in the Lithuanian part of the Curonian Lagoon, calculated their potential P excretion, and compared its relevance to the riverine inputs. Phosphorus excretion rates for the censused species were assessed accounting for variations of body weights, daily feces production and their P content, and assigning species to different feeding and nutrient cycling guilds. During the study period (March–November 2018), 32 waterbird species were censused, varying in abundance from ~18,000–32,000 (October–November) to ~30,000–48,000 individuals (June–September). The estimated avian P loads during the whole study period varied between 3.6 and 25 tons, corresponding to an area load between 8.7 and 60.7 mg P m−2. Waterbird release of reactive P to the system represented a variable but not negligible fraction (1%–12%) of total external P loads, peaking in June–September and coinciding with cyanobacterial blooms. This study is the first in the Baltic Sea region suggesting that waterbirds are potentially important P sources to phytoplankton in large estuaries, in particular, during low discharge periods. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuary; bird; guilds; visual counts; feces; phosphorus source; algal blooms estuary; bird; guilds; visual counts; feces; phosphorus source; algal blooms
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MDPI and ACS Style

Morkūnė, R.; Petkuvienė, J.; Bružas, M.; Morkūnas, J.; Bartoli, M. Monthly Abundance Patterns and the Potential Role of Waterbirds as Phosphorus Sources to a Hypertrophic Baltic Lagoon. Water 2020, 12, 1392. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051392

AMA Style

Morkūnė R, Petkuvienė J, Bružas M, Morkūnas J, Bartoli M. Monthly Abundance Patterns and the Potential Role of Waterbirds as Phosphorus Sources to a Hypertrophic Baltic Lagoon. Water. 2020; 12(5):1392. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051392

Chicago/Turabian Style

Morkūnė, Rasa; Petkuvienė, Jolita; Bružas, Modestas; Morkūnas, Julius; Bartoli, Marco. 2020. "Monthly Abundance Patterns and the Potential Role of Waterbirds as Phosphorus Sources to a Hypertrophic Baltic Lagoon" Water 12, no. 5: 1392. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051392

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