A comprehensive understanding of the interactions between primary producers and consumers plays an important role for the conservation of sensitive ecosystems such as lagoons. In this light, we studied the relationships between the flocks' size of Mareca penelope and the distribution of three seagrass species (Cymodocea nodosa, Zoostera marina and Nanozostera noltei) occurring in the Marano and Grado lagoon (Northern Adriatic Sea). Twelve bird monitoring areas were monthly surveyed for 3 years whereas seagrass distribution data were collected for the whole lagoon in the following years. The overall number of individuals of M. penelope was related to seagrass meadow extension and species cover by using a multiscale approach in four circle buffers (with radius of 500, 750, 1,000 and 1,250 m). Among the considered scales, the 750 m radius scale showed the best performance. The overall number of M. penelope increased where the occupied area by seagrass meadows was larger. Results also showed that when C. nodosa mean percentage cover increased the number of M. penelope decreased, while if N. noltei mean percentage cover increased also M. penelope number increased. Z. marina showed a negligible influence for all the tested scales. Our findings demonstrate that M. penelope populations depend not only on the extension of seagrass meadows but also on their species assembly, evidencing that M. penelope seem to prefer N. noltei stands, avoiding meadows with high abundance of C. nodosa.

Seagrass meadow cover and species composition drive the abundance of Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope L.) in a lagoon ecosystem of the northern Adriatic Sea

Vitti Stefano
;
Flavio Roppa;Sponza Stefano
2019-01-01

Abstract

A comprehensive understanding of the interactions between primary producers and consumers plays an important role for the conservation of sensitive ecosystems such as lagoons. In this light, we studied the relationships between the flocks' size of Mareca penelope and the distribution of three seagrass species (Cymodocea nodosa, Zoostera marina and Nanozostera noltei) occurring in the Marano and Grado lagoon (Northern Adriatic Sea). Twelve bird monitoring areas were monthly surveyed for 3 years whereas seagrass distribution data were collected for the whole lagoon in the following years. The overall number of individuals of M. penelope was related to seagrass meadow extension and species cover by using a multiscale approach in four circle buffers (with radius of 500, 750, 1,000 and 1,250 m). Among the considered scales, the 750 m radius scale showed the best performance. The overall number of M. penelope increased where the occupied area by seagrass meadows was larger. Results also showed that when C. nodosa mean percentage cover increased the number of M. penelope decreased, while if N. noltei mean percentage cover increased also M. penelope number increased. Z. marina showed a negligible influence for all the tested scales. Our findings demonstrate that M. penelope populations depend not only on the extension of seagrass meadows but also on their species assembly, evidencing that M. penelope seem to prefer N. noltei stands, avoiding meadows with high abundance of C. nodosa.
2019
10-gen-2019
Pubblicato
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1440-1703.1070
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