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Production by intertidal benthic animals and limits to their predation by shorebirds: a heuristic model
Piersma, T. (1987). Production by intertidal benthic animals and limits to their predation by shorebirds: a heuristic model. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 38: 187-196
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Aquatic birds; Benthos; Predation; Secondary production; Marine

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  • Piersma, T.

    This review examines the question whether the cumulative amount of benthic biomass removed by feeding shorebirds on a certain intertidal area is limited by the renewal rate of benthic food stocks. Limitations of current methods to estimate both predatory impact by shorebirds and harvestable benthic secondary productivity are discussed first. A heuristic model is then presented which summarises all the known interrelated causal processes (mechanisms) that connect food stocks and shorebird predation. Since the majority of terms in the model are operational, it is possible to translate them into a simulation-model for a specific predator-prey situation. Any influence of benthic food stocks on densities of feeding shorebirds works via the predator's selection of acceptableprey (i. e. availability and profitabhty). Short-term densities of feeding shorebirds are thus limited directly by the density of acceptable prey. Cumulative shorebird predation may be limited by the production of acceptable bjomass, which is argued to be the crucial measurement to make to investigate whether benthic food supply limits shorebird predation in the long term. The heuristic model presented here can be modified to apply to other trophic systems.

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