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Waterbird communities along the estuarine salinity gradient of the Schelde estuary, NW-Europe
Ysebaert, T.; Meininger, P.L.M.; Meire, P.; Devos, K.; Berrevoets, C.M.; Strucker, R.C.W.; Kuijken, E. (2000). Waterbird communities along the estuarine salinity gradient of the Schelde estuary, NW-Europe. Biodivers. Conserv. 9: 1275-1296
In: Biodiversity and Conservation. Kluwer Academic Publishers/Springer: London. ISSN 0960-3115; e-ISSN 1572-9710, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Chordata > Vertebrates > Birds > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Anas
    Chordata > Vertebrates > Birds > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Anser
    Composition > Community composition
    Conservation > Nature conservation
    Distribution > Ecological distribution
    Environmental effects > Salinity effects
    Fauna > Aquatic organisms > Aquatic animals > Aquatic birds
    Population characteristics > Population number
    Species diversity
    Species richness
    Water bodies > Coastal waters > Coastal landforms > Coastal inlets > Estuaries
    Anser anser (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Aves [WoRMS]; Calidris alpina (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Haematopus ostralegus Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
    Belgium [Marine Regions]; Belgium, Zeeschelde [Marine Regions]; Netherlands [Marine Regions]
    Marine/Coastal; Brackish water; Fresh water
Author keywords
    communities, conservation, estuarine zonation, salinity gradient, Schelde estuary, waterbirds

Authors  Top 
  • Berrevoets, C.M., more
  • Strucker, R.C.W., more
  • Kuijken, E.

    The zonation of non-breeding waterbirds along the Schelde estuary (The Netherlands-Belgium), one of the longest estuaries in NW-Europe with still a complete salinity gradient, including a large freshwater tidal area, was described. Numbers of birds were counted monthly over the period October 1991 to June 1997. Highest numbers of waterbirds were observed in late autumn and winter, with annual peak numbers ranging between 150,000 and 235,000 individuals for the whole estuary. Based on a multivariate analysis different waterbird communities were observed along the salinity gradient. The polyhaline areas of the estuary were numerically dominated by the waders Oystercatcher and Dunlin. Due to the presence of a large brackish marsh in the mesohaline zone, the waterbird community in this area was dominated by the herbivores Wigeon and Greylag Goose. In the oligohaline and freshwater tidal areas, the waterbird community was dominated by duck species, with Teal and Mallard being the most important. The international importance of the Schelde estuary for waterbirds was evidenced by the fact that for 21 waterbird species the 1% level criterion, according to the Ramsar convention, was exceeded. The relation of the observed diversity and community patterns with the functional and habitat diversity of the Schelde estuary as well as the effect of recent conservation measures to preserve this habitat were discussed.

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