Macrophyte-associated macroinvertebrates as an important food source for wintering waterbirds at Lake Constance

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In many lake ecosystems, waterbirds rate among the top consumers. Lake Constance is an important overwintering site for waterbirds in Central Europe because it provides sufficient food sources to meet energy demands during the winter months. In this study we focussed on the submerged vegetation and its associated macroinvertebrate fauna as a food source. We conducted experiments with exclosure cages which protected evergreen charophytes from bird grazing and compared the mass decline throughout the winter to unprotected grazed sites. Furthermore, we assessed the change in macrophyte-associated macroinvertebrates during the course of winter. We found that wintering waterbirds caused a significant decline of charophytes and their associated macroinvertebrates down to a depth of 4 m. We determined the taxa and abundance of macroinvertebrates associated with charophytes and predominantly found Dreissena polymorpha. At sites protected from bird grazing, the biomass of the macroinvertebrate fauna increased relative to the plant biomass during the course of winter. This might also have affected the foraging behaviour of diving waterbirds.

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ISO 690MATUSZAK, Anja, Martin MÖRTL, Petra QUILLFELDT, Hans-Günther BAUER, 2014. Macrophyte-associated macroinvertebrates as an important food source for wintering waterbirds at Lake Constance. In: Limnology. 2014, 15(1), pp. 69-76. ISSN 1439-8621. eISSN 1439-863X. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10201-013-0414-z
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@article{Matuszak2014-01Macro-41688,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1007/s10201-013-0414-z},
  title={Macrophyte-associated macroinvertebrates as an important food source for wintering waterbirds at Lake Constance},
  number={1},
  volume={15},
  issn={1439-8621},
  journal={Limnology},
  pages={69--76},
  author={Matuszak, Anja and Mörtl, Martin and Quillfeldt, Petra and Bauer, Hans-Günther}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">In many lake ecosystems, waterbirds rate among the top consumers. Lake Constance is an important overwintering site for waterbirds in Central Europe because it provides sufficient food sources to meet energy demands during the winter months. In this study we focussed on the submerged vegetation and its associated macroinvertebrate fauna as a food source. We conducted experiments with exclosure cages which protected evergreen charophytes from bird grazing and compared the mass decline throughout the winter to unprotected grazed sites. Furthermore, we assessed the change in macrophyte-associated macroinvertebrates during the course of winter. We found that wintering waterbirds caused a significant decline of charophytes and their associated macroinvertebrates down to a depth of 4 m. We determined the taxa and abundance of macroinvertebrates associated with charophytes and predominantly found Dreissena polymorpha. At sites protected from bird grazing, the biomass of the macroinvertebrate fauna increased relative to the plant biomass during the course of winter. This might also have affected the foraging behaviour of diving waterbirds.</dcterms:abstract>
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