Bottom-up effects on coastal marine ecosystems due to nitrogen input from seabird feces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Breeding seabirds, often nest at high densities and supply large amounts of marine-derived nutrients, such as nitrogen, in their feces into the ecosystems surrounding their breeding colonies. It has been well demonstrated that the nitrogen supplied by seabirds (seabird-N) into terrestrial ecosystems has a strong bottom-up effect on both producers and consumers. The seabird-N can reach into the surrounding marine ecosystems near the colony through multiple pathways including the surface run-off of rainwater or leaching by ground water. However, in marine ecosystems the bottom-up effects of seabird-N have been rarely documented. A few studies using stable isotope analyses have reported that seabird-N enhances the productivity of both phytoplankton and macro algae. There have been more limited studies documenting similar positive effects of seabird-N on marine consumers. Very little is known about spatio-Temporal variations in the effects of the seabird-N on marine ecosystems. To understand the ecosystem functions of seabirds in marine nutrient cycling and the bottom-up effects of seabird-N in marine ecosystems, further research is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalOrnithological Science
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 27

Keywords

  • Ecosystem service
  • Herbivore
  • Nitrogen cycling
  • Primary production
  • Seabird guano

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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