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How do macrobenthic resources concentrate foraging waders in large megatidal sandflats?

TitreHow do macrobenthic resources concentrate foraging waders in large megatidal sandflats?
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuteursPonsero, A, Sturbois, A, Desroy, N, La Mao, P, Jones, A, Fournier, J
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

The relationship between foraging shorebirds, macrobenthos and sedimentary parameters has been widely studied across Western Europe. Megatidal areas have large zones uncovered when the water retreats. Consequently, in such cases, the tide also influences foraging activities. This paper examines the use of an intertidal space by waders to define how macrobenthic resource concentrates foraging activity of birds in a large megatidal sandflat. This approach combines accurate spatial distribution of waders (Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Redknot) according to their activity with ecological/biological parameters. A differential exploitation of the flat is clearly shown, with macrobenthic biomass appearing as one of the main explanatory factor for the four species considered on the western part of the bay and altitude (shore elevation) in the eastern part. The novelty of this study relates to the large area, also presumed to be a functional unit, while considering at the same time the singularities of the different parts of the flat. This multi-scale approach identifies important factors influencing the differential distribution patterns observed. The different selected parameters present an important variability in their contribution, underlining the complexity of explaining the distribution of foraging birds. Consequently, the study of such complex phenomena needs to consider additional variables to improve the relevance of explanatory models.