Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507485
Title Impact on bird fauna of a non-native oyster expanding into blue mussel beds in the Dutch Wadden Sea
Author(s) Waser, Andreas M.; Deuzeman, Symen; Kangeri, Arno K.W.; Winden, Erik van; Postma, Jelle; Boer, Peter de; Meer, Jaap van der; Ens, Bruno J.
Source Biological Conservation 202 (2016). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 39 - 49.
Department(s) Onderzoeksformatie
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Crassotrea gigas - Habitat complexity - Mytilus edulis - Oyster reef - Shorebirds - Species distribution

Intertidal mussel beds are important for intertidal ecosystems, because they feature a high taxonomic diversity and abundance of benthic organisms and are important foraging grounds for many avian species. After the introduction of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) into the European Wadden Sea, many mussel beds developed into oyster dominated bivalve beds. Despite the fact that oysters have been colonizing many European intertidal areas for about two decades, their impact on the ecosystem is still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the impact of oysters on the condition of mussels and on the spatial distribution of birds on 18 bivalve beds with different grades of oyster occurrence throughout the Dutch Wadden Sea. Moreover, in comparing bird densities on bivalve beds with densities expected on the total intertidal area, we could detect which species exhibit a preference for the structured habitat. Overall, 50 different bird species were observed on the beds, of which about half regularly frequent intertidal flats. Most of these species showed a preference for bivalve beds. The condition of mussels decreased with the oyster dominance, whereas the majority of bird species was not affected by the oyster occurrence. However, three of the four species that were negatively affected depend on intertidal mussels as food source. Even though the Pacific oyster is a nonnative species, attempts to fight it may do more harm to avian biodiversity than good.

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