Response of waterbirds to alternating clear and turbid water phases in two shallow Mediterranean lakes
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- Moreno-Ostos, E., Paracuellos, M., de Vicente, I. et al. Aquat Ecol (2008) 42: 701. doi:10.1007/s10452-007-9141-z
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Albufera de Adra (Southern Spain) constitutes an internationally-recognised marsh for waterbirds; important populations of some endangered species such as White-headed Duck and Red-crested Pochard overwinter and breed in its two shallow permanent lakes (Lake Honda and Lake Nueva). In a recently published article, we revealed the factors responsible for the irregular alternation between phytoplankton-dominated turbid phases and macrophyte-dominated clear water phases in Lake Honda and Lake Nueva. In this note, we try to clarify the impact of such an alternation of equilibrium states on the waterbird dynamics. Marked increments in abundance, and brood recruitment of dabbling and diving waterbirds were recorded during the clear water phases in contrast with the turbid water phases, as the increase of macrophytes associated with increased water transparency attract waterbirds for available food. Implications for ecosystem management, restoration and conservation are identified.