Project Details

Short Description

The dramatic increases of geese and swans in northwestern Europe do not only cause conflicts due to crop damage, but also raise concerns about consequences to ecosystems in general. The role of these birds in aquatic ecosystems is especially urgent to investigate since many wetlands are facing concurrent and drastic changes, for example brownification, eutrophication and in species composition. This is worrying, as wetlands normally are among the richest systems in terms of productivity and biodiversity. It is not known if geese and swans are prime agents behind these changes, or alternatively, if they are just benefiters. Nonetheless, it is not unlikely that the growing numbers may catalyze changes throughout wetland ecosystems, since geese and swans often constitute a large share of the total biomass of aquatic consumers.

The project "Effects of large herbivorous waterfowl in aquatic ecosystems" is financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and thus address the hypothesis that geese and swans may be drivers of the ongoing changes in wetland ecosystems. Field studies are descriptive as well as experimental, and include several trophic levels in the ecosystems, from direct grazing effects on vegetation to indirect effects (cascades) on invertebrates and other waterbirds. Results will have high universal applicability since the studies cover a large spatial scale (in Sweden and Finland) and include wetlands along the nutrient gradient. Outcomes will be of great value for wetland management, but also for the “players” in aquatic ecosystems. This includes hence not only the ecosystem as a whole, but also specific taxa such as important avian game, for example geese.
Effective start/end date21-04-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Ecology (10611)


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