Interspecific interactions and co-existence in dabbling ducks: observations and an experiment

Johan Elmberg, Hannu Pöysä, Kjell Sjöberg, Petri Nummi

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52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the possible role of resource limitation and interspecific competition in assemblages of dabbling ducks on breeding lakes in Finland and Sweden with observational and experimental data. After initial vegetation mapping and yearly censuses of ducks in 1985-1990, we collected observational data in 1991-1994 from 28 lakes with natural populations of mallard Anas platyrhynchos and teal A. crecca. Mallard and teal co-occur over vast areas in the Holarctic and they are the only breeding dabbling ducks on many oligotrophic lakes. Both species are migratory in our study regions, teal arriving later in spring than mallards. Log-linear model analysis of observational presence/absence data revealed a positive, not a negative, association between the species. This association was independent of habitat diversity as well as of lake size. Mallard-teal interaction was also studied in a cross-over introduction experiment in 32 other lakes in two years. Wing-clipped mallards were introduced to breeding lakes before the arrival of teal to induce resource limitation and interspecific competition, hypothesized to reduce lake use by teal. The density of mallard pairs on experimental lakes was 2.9-8.0 times higher than on controls, but there was no negative response by teal to the treatment. This is the first combined observational-experimental demonstration of lack of interspecific competition in waterfowl. Our results indicate that heterospecific attraction may affect species co-existence in dabbling ducks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages7
JournalOecologia
Volume111
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Biological Sciences (106)

Keywords

  • ATTRACTION
  • Anas
  • Anas crecca
  • COMMUNITIES
  • COMPETITIVE-EXCLUSION PRINCIPLE
  • CONSPECIFIC
  • ENVIRONMENTS
  • FIELD EXPERIMENTS
  • HABITAT USE
  • SPECIES NUMBER
  • WATERFOWL GUILDS
  • competition
  • heterospecific attraction
  • platyrhynchos
  • resource limitation

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