Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Largest lake in Britain and Ireland has lost three quarters of winter water birds

Date:
November 13, 2013
Source:
Queen's University, Belfast
Summary:
The largest lake in Britain and Ireland, Lough Neagh, has lost more than three quarters of its overwintering water birds.

The largest lake in Britain and Ireland, Lough Neagh, has lost more than three quarters of its overwintering water birds according to researchers at Queen's University Belfast.

The study by Quercus, Northern Ireland's Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, found the number of diving ducks migrating to the lake for the winter months has dropped from 100,000 to less than 21,000 in the space of a decade.

The research, published in the journal Freshwater Biology, found the ecosystem of the lake has dramatically changed since 2000/01 leading to a huge decline in the numbers of insects and snails living at the bottom of the lake. This combined with the effects of global climate change dramatically affected the numbers of migratory and overwintering water birds, a feature for which the lake is designated a Special Protection Area.

Dr Irena Tomαnkovα, from Quercus at the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's and who led the study, said: "Our research found there was a 66 per cent decline in the numbers of insects and snails in the lake and that this was associated with a decline of algae. As the water birds, which migrate from Northern and Eastern Europe to spend the winter months on the lake, depend on these invertebrates, we partly attribute their decline to the lack of food as well as the effects of climate change.

"Historically the lake was heavily affected by organic pollution as a result of nutrients from agricultural run-off. This artificially boosted its productivity. Now that conservation schemes are beginning to have an effect and reduce levels of pollution we are seeing increasing water quality and the unexpected consequence is fewer invertebrates and as a result less duck food."

An associated study published earlier this year showed that numbers of some key water bird species declined throughout south-western Europe at the same time as numbers equally dramatically increased in north-eastern Europe. The reason is that winter temperatures in Northern Europe have increased by 3.8oC in the past 30 years, meaning that lakes which used to be frozen over in winter are now available for the birds to feed on. Less food in Lough Neagh and more ice-free lakes closer to the bird's natural breeding grounds mean that ducks simply no longer need to fly as far south-west and as a result Lough Neagh has lost some of its importance for overwintering water birds.

Ian Enlander, from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), said: "It is critically important for conservationists and policy makers to understand the reasons behind the dramatic changes that have been recorded at Lough Neagh. This work has been an outstanding contribution to improving our knowledge for this site. It underlines the need for international conservation measures to apply across the entire range of these migratory species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University, Belfast. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Irena Tomαnkovα, Chris Harrod, Anthony D. Fox, Neil Reid. Chlorophyll-aconcentrations and macroinvertebrate declines coincide with the collapse of overwintering diving duck populations in a large eutrophic lake. Freshwater Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12261

Cite This Page:

Queen's University, Belfast. "Largest lake in Britain and Ireland has lost three quarters of winter water birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113080135.htm>.
Queen's University, Belfast. (2013, November 13). Largest lake in Britain and Ireland has lost three quarters of winter water birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113080135.htm
Queen's University, Belfast. "Largest lake in Britain and Ireland has lost three quarters of winter water birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113080135.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) — Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) 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:
from the past week

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