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Theses

Interactions between shorebirds and benthic macrofauna : making small things bigger

Abstract : Intertidal mudflats are complex ecosystems undergoing constant changes, home to infaunal invertebrates (benthic macrofauna), and migratory sites for particular birds : shorebirds. This research focuses on predator-prey interactions between shorebirds and their macrobenthic prey. The present thesis is composed of 8 chapters which illustrate different spatio-temporal scales : from seasons to the decade, and from the bay to the migratory flyway. These studies are based on regular benthic sampling of intertidal flats along the Bay of Biscay (France), as well as sampling data from the Dutch Wadden Sea and the Mauritanian Banc d’Arguin. Macrobenthic data (quality, sizes, densities, biomass) are linked with shorebird counts and data about their feeding behaviour (diet reconstruction from isotopes, faeces, modeling and video observations). These eight studies shed light on particular relationships between some prey and their predators, and the ecology of these interactions (including environmental variables such as inundation time, grain size, temperature, primary production, or even latitude). Particular attention is given to the variability of prey and predator behaviour in time and space. Inserts are included in between chapters to illustrate for instance different diet reconstruction techniques, anti-predation traits in marine molluscs, or relation between energy available and site selection in shorebirds.
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Anne Philippe. Interactions between shorebirds and benthic macrofauna : making small things bigger. Agricultural sciences. Université de La Rochelle, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016LAROS012⟩. ⟨tel-01661520⟩

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