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Dramatic impact of alien carp Cyprinus carpio on globally threatened diving ducks and other waterbirds in Mediterranean shallow lakes [Biological Conservation]

Keywords : exotic fish, multi-trophic impacts, threatened waterbirds, whole-lake experiment, Mediterranean wetlands, eradication methods

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Mediterranean shallow lakes support high biodiversity but suffer many anthropogenic threats, including introductions of alien fish. We studied the impact of introduction of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) to Medina and Zoñar lakes in SW Spain. Both lakes were protected as Ramsar sites because of their importance for waterbirds, particularly the globally threatened white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala IUCN Endangered) and common pochard (Aythya ferina IUCN Vulnerable). Two carp introduction events in Medina lake, with total eradication of carp in between, provided a unique opportunity to study the impacts of carp on the waterbird community (counted monthly from 2001 to 2013, with up to 69 species) and submerged macrophyte cover (quantified with satellite images). A comparison of waterbird abundance before and after carp eradication in the smaller Zoñar lake supported the results from Medina lake.(...)

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