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Submersed macrophytes as a food source for wintering waterbirds at Lake Constance
Schmieder, K.; Werner, S.; Bauer, H.-G. (2006). Submersed macrophytes as a food source for wintering waterbirds at Lake Constance. Aquat. Bot. 84(3): 245-250. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2005.09.006
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Aquatic birds; Aquatic plants; Eulittoral zone; Food resources; Herbivores; Migrations; Fulica Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Germany, Constance L. [Marine Regions]; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Schmieder, K.
  • Werner, S.
  • Bauer, H.-G.

Abstract
    We investigated the relationship between Charophytes and herbivorous waterbirds in the littoral zone of Lake Constance by quantifying their seasonal dynamics. The waterfowl extensively consumed Charophyte vegetation in shallower areas (<1 m water depth) at the beginning of the winter season, while deeper regions were only used in late winter. By the end of winter, the waterfowl had almost completely depleted the available Charophyte biomass down to a water depth of approximately 2 m (relative to average mean water level (AML)). Enclosure experiments revealed that senescence processes had a negligible influence on Charophytes biomass loss until early February. Coot, Red-crested Pochard and Pochard are the main avian Chara consumers in winter. Despite their great influence on biomass in winter, their influence on subsequent Charophyte regeneration is probably limited in Lake Constance, since Charophytes as typical pioneer species produce innumerable diaspores forming dense Charophyte meadows at a depth of between 1 and 4 m every year.

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