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Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies

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Volume 44, Issue 3


Long-term changes in the ecosystem of a lake (Lake Strzyżminskie) and an island induced by a colony of Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis L.)

Piotr Klimaszyk
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Water Protection, Adam Mickiewicz University, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Andrzej Brzeg
  • Department of Plant Ecology and Environment Protection, Adam Mickiewicz University, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-09-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ohs-2015-0030


Cormorants feed in aquatic ecosystems and transport a large amount of biomass and chemical substances to colonies or roosts situated on land adjacent to the water. This leads to significant enrichment of soils in nutrients. Some loads of nutrients may be transferred to a nearby lake. A long-term impact of cormorants may be followed by the destruction of vegetation beneath the colony. Within a few decades, cormorants lose places suitable for nesting or roosting and abandon the colonies. Then the content of nutrients in the soil decreases and natural regeneration of vegetation occurs. We found that despite the passage of several years since the abandonment of a cormorant colony, the concentration of nutrients in the soil remained high. Groundwater beneath the colony was also strongly enriched with nutrients. Thus, despite the absence of a bird being a source of nutrients, the area of the former colony constantly supplies nitrogen and phosphorus into the nearby lake. The occurrence of vegetation in the area of the former cormorant colony is limited to a few species. Nitrophilous black elder Sambucus nigra, usually creates a dense canopy preventing the light penetration, thereby reducing the growth of other plants.

Keywords: cormorant; soil fertilization; ground water; surface runoff; phosphorus; nitrogen; vegetation


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About the article

Received: 2015-02-14

Accepted: 2015-03-24

Published Online: 2015-09-30

Published in Print: 2015-09-01

Citation Information: Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies, Volume 44, Issue 3, Pages 316–325, ISSN (Online) 1897-3191, ISSN (Print) 1730-413X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ohs-2015-0030.

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