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Title: Competition for feeding in waders: a case study in an estuary of south temperate Europe (Mondego, Portugal)
Authors: Santos, Tiago Múrias dos 
Cabral, João Alexandre 
Lopes, Ricardo Jorge 
Pardal, Miguel 
Marques, João Carlos 
Goss-Custard, John 
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Hydrobiologia. 544:1 (2005) 155-166
Abstract: The loss of feeding areas may pose a threat to many wintering waders because increased competition arising from reduced foraging space may force birds either to emigrate or to die. This has been demonstrated to occur in northwest European estuaries, but virtually no studies have been performed in the estuaries of southern Europe, where the loss of supratidal habitats (salines and saltmarshes), rather than intertidal habitats, are currently the main threat to waders’ habitats. If these habitats are lost, waders may be forced to move to the intertidal mudflats, perhaps increasing competition between individuals and ultimately leading to starvation or emigration. We tested this hypothesis in the Mondego estuary, a small estuary on Portugal’s west coast, which is presently under heavy human pressure. We used indirect methods to test for the occurrence of both components of intra-specific competition: interference and prey depletion. We found no evidence that either interference or depletion competition was occurring at present, either on the mudflats or in the salines. Overall, the results suggest that the intertidal mudflats may still be able to accommodate birds displaced from the destroyed supratidal salines, but modelling is required to predict the effect that the combined loss of feeding area and foraging time that this would entail would have on their fitness, and thus numbers.
DOI: 10.1007/s10750-005-0541-6
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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