, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 700–709 | Cite as

The effect of migratory shorebirds on the benthic species of three southwestern Atlantic Argentinean estuaries

  • Florencia BottoEmail author
  • Oscar O. Iribarne
  • Mariano M. Martínez
  • Kaspar Delhey
  • Martina Carrete


We experimentally evaluate the effect of migratory shorebirds on the benthic fauna of three southwestern Atlantic Argentinean stop-over and wintering sites: Bahía Samborombon (35°30′–36°22′S, 57°23′W), Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon (37°40′S, 57°26′W), and Bahía Blanca (38°48′–39°25′S, 50°–62°25′W). The experiments consisted of exclusion ceilings and controls (both 1 m2), with 10 replicates each and aligned at the same tidal level. During December 1994–May 1995 these experiments were done, twice in Bahía Samborombon, twice at two sites (Sotelo and Celpa) 4 km apart in Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon, and three times in Bahía Blanca. Three polychaete species (Laeonereis acuta, Nephtys fluviatilis, andHeteromastus similis) were found in similar densities in both areas of the Mar Chiquita lagoon.L. acuta andN. fluviatilis were affected in Sotelo, but there was no treatment effect in Celpa. In Sotelo the most abundant shorebirds were Hudsonian godwit (Limosa haemastica), American golden plover (Pluvialis dominica), and White-rumped sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), and in Celpa the most abundant shorebirds were White-rumped sandpiper, two-banded plower (Charadrius falklandicus), and lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). The largest polychaete densities were in the upper sediment layer (0–6 cm), which was also the most affected layer. Three polychaete species were found in Bahía Samborombon (L. acuta, H. similis, andNeanthes succinea), but onlyH. similis showed a treatment effect. The most abundant shorebirds in Samborombon were white-rumped sandpiper and two-banded plover. No effect was detected in Bahía Blanca, where the most abundant shorebirds were white-rumped sandpiper and American golden plover. In all cases, the species affected by shorebirds were the most abundant species. From the two sites of Mar Chiquita, there was a treatment effect only in Sotelo, which was also the area with higher shorebirds counts. However, much lower densities observed in Samborombon (similar to the unaffected area of Mar Chiquita) also produced a significant decrease in infaunal abundance. These evidences also suggest that just selection of study sites may produce different views of the interaction between shorebirds and benthic species.


Polychaete Benthic Species Size Frequency Distribution Polychaete Species Migratory Shorebird 
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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florencia Botto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oscar O. Iribarne
    • 1
  • Mariano M. Martínez
    • 1
  • Kaspar Delhey
    • 2
  • Martina Carrete
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, FCEyNUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Bahía BlancaArgentina

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