Dispersal of aquatic organisms by waterbirds
Late Lunch Talk by Casper van Leeuwen
Movement of species in the landscape is essential for the long-term survival of their populations. For many small aquatic invertebrates and plants inhabiting freshwater wetlands, however, sufficient movement can be challenging if it involves crossing land barriers. I will show that for many aquatic species that lack overland dispersal capability, waterbirds can be efficient transport vectors. Ducks and geese can carry plant seeds and invertebrates internally or externally on their long distance flights, and thereby contribute to species richness in the wetlands they visit on their way. I will present the current knowledge on this topic, focusing on the mechanisms, taxonomic range of dispersed species, and on the factors that determine the potential dispersal distances that can be achieved this way.