Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rain may not always be a welcome thing to waterbirds

Date:
June 7, 2012
Source:
Smithsonian
Summary:
Scientists have found that waterbird communities can be the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to detecting the health of urban estuary ecosystems. Their research revealed that the types of waterbirds that inhabit urban estuaries are influenced not only by urban development, but also by a far more natural process -- rain.

Scientists from the Smithsonian and colleagues have found that waterbird communities can be the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to detecting the health of urban estuary ecosystems. Their research revealed that the types of waterbirds that inhabit urban estuaries are influenced not only by urban development, but also by a far more natural process―rain.

Related Articles


The team's findings are published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

The scientists compared waterbird communities in estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay during 2002, a year of severe drought, to 2003, a year of high rainfall. During the drier year, the species of waterbirds present included both those that fed generally on many species of invertebrates and those that only fed on specific ones. However, the waterbird community was made up of most generalists the following year after heavy rain. The high rainfall increased nutrient runoff into the estuaries which reduced the estuaries' populations of small invertebrates. Because the dynamics of the invertebrate populations were affected, so in turn were the dynamics of the waterbird communities that fed on them.

"We're seeing more extreme rainstorms in this region, so our results give a snapshot of what bird communities in urban estuaries might look like in the future," said Colin Studds, lead author and postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the time of the research. "As urban development continues, we need new solutions for managing water quality or we stand to lose the Bay's iconic natural treasures."

Top members of estuary food chains such as waterbirds are not often considered when monitoring the stressors and indicators in the ecosystem. The team's research, however, shows that estuarine management could be improved by tracking the relationships between land development, water quality and waterbird communities. Understanding the relationships between the three could help improve strategies to protect these unique ecosystems as urban development increases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colin E. Studds, William V. DeLuca, Matthew E. Baker, Ryan S. King, Peter P. Marra. Land Cover and Rainfall Interact to Shape Waterbird Community Composition. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (4): e35969 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035969

Cite This Page:

Smithsonian. "Rain may not always be a welcome thing to waterbirds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607180247.htm>.
Smithsonian. (2012, June 7). Rain may not always be a welcome thing to waterbirds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607180247.htm
Smithsonian. "Rain may not always be a welcome thing to waterbirds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607180247.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Rescued Butterflies Get New Home at San Diego Zoo

Rare Rescued Butterflies Get New Home at San Diego Zoo

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 3, 2015) Workers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park help to save rare butterfly pupae. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Volcano Villarrica Erupts in Southern Chile, Villages Evacuated

Volcano Villarrica Erupts in Southern Chile, Villages Evacuated

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 3, 2015) Chile&apos;s Villarrica volcano gives a spectacular display of lava as it erupts in the early morning hours, prompting several thousand to evacuate. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Fire Burns Iconic SAfrica Mountain

Raw: Fire Burns Iconic SAfrica Mountain

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) Cape Town&apos;s iconic Table Mountain was engulfed by an orange blaze on Monday and Tuesday, blowing thick smoke to the city below, as a wildfire burned across the city&apos;s southern peninsula. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins