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||Does seabird guano affect plant physiology in insular ecosystem?
||Hussein A. A., Baaloudj A., Benhamiche-Hanifi S., Lassouane N., Moulaï R.
||1Laboratoire de Zoologie Appliquée et d’Écophysiologie Animale, Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Université de Bejaia, Algeria
2Laboratoire de Biologie, Eau et Environment, Faculty SNV-STU, University of 8 May 1945 Guelma, 24000, Algeria
3Département de Botanique, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique (ENSA), Alger, Algérie
||Superabundance of seabirds have witnessed a rapid increase in their home range, occupying most islands worldwide and disturbing the sensitive local biodiversity. While superabundant seabirds have the potential to drastically change the physicochemical properties of the habitat through an excess deposition of excrements the potential consequences of these alterations on plant physiology has received little attention. Here we aim to evaluate the effects of the guano deposition of the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) on the leaf physiology of six species of plants (Urtica urens, Malva arborea, Malva multiflora, Pallenis maritima, Coelostephus myconis, and Limbarda crithmoides) found during the breeding season of the bird in six Mediterranean islands in central North Algeria. The different islands had different population sizes of the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). We specifically collected fresh leaves that were stained or not by guano to estimate the stomatal density, water content, chlorophylls A-B, and carotenoids. The results showed that there was interspecific variability in the response of the guano stain on the four physiological parameters. Overall, there was a negative linear correlation between all parameters and the percentage cover of the leaf by the guano in all plant species. These results suggest that superabundant seabirds might induce physiological changes in plants that might lower their fitness and affect the insular ecosystem.
||Seabird, organic matter, stomata, chlorophyll, island
||Affef Baaloudj, Laboratoire de Biologie, Eau et Environment, Faculty SNV-STU, University of 8 May 1945 Guelma,
24000, Algeria. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org