Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Fueling of a marine-terrestrial ecosystem by a major seabird colony

Hentati-Sundberg, J.; Raymond, C.; Skoeld, M.; Svensson, O.; Gustafsson, B.; Bonaglia, S.

Abstract

Seabirds redistribute nutrients between different ecosystem compartments and over vast geographical areas. This nutrient transfer may impact both local ecosystems on seabird breeding islands and regional biogeochemical cycling, but these processes are seldom considered in local conservation plans or biogeochemical models. The island of Stora Karlso in the Baltic Sea hosts the largest concentration of piscivorous seabirds in the region, and also hosts a large colony of insectivorous House martins Delichon urbicum adjacent to the breeding seabirds. We show that a previously reported unusually high insectivore abundance was explained by large amounts of chironomids-highly enriched in delta N-15-that feed on seabird residues as larvae along rocky shores to eventually emerge as flying adults. Benthic ammonium and phosphate fluxes were up to 163% and 153% higher close to the colony (1,300 m distance) than further away (2,700 m) and the estimated nutrient release from the seabirds at were in the same order of magnitude as the loads from the largest waste-water treatment plants in the region. The trophic cascade impacting insectivorous passerines and the substantial redistribution of nutrients suggest that seabird nutrient transfer should be increasingly considered in local conservation plans and regional nutrient cycling models.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2020, volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 15455
Publisher: NATURE RESEARCH

Authors' information

Hentati-Sundberg, Jonas (Hentati Sundberg, Jonas)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Raymond, C.
Stockholm University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Svensson, O.
Stockholm University
Gustafsson, B.
University of Helsinki
Bonaglia, S.
University of Gothenburg

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water
SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72238-6

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/108434