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Gull contributions of phosphorus and nitrogen to a Cape Cod kettle pond

June 16, 2010

Nutrient excretion rates and the annual contribution of P from the feces of the gulls Larus argentatus and L. marinus (and of N from L. argentatus) to the nutrient budget of Gull Pond (Wellfleet), a soft water seepage lake, have been estimated. Intensive year-round gull counts by species were combined with determinations of defecation rate and the nutrient content of feces to quantitatively assess the P loading rates associated with regular gull use of this coastal pond on a seasonal and annual basis. Total P loading from gulls was estimated to be 52 kg yr−1, with 17 kg from L. argentatus and 35 kg from L. marinus, resulting from about 5.0 × 106 h yr−1 and 1.7 × 106 h yr−1 of pond use. This compares with P loading estimates of 67 kg yr−1 from upgradient septic systems, 2 kg yr−1 from precipitation and 3 kg yr−1 from unpolluted ground water. Fifty-six percent of annual gull P loading was associated with migratory activity in late fall. Estimated annual N loading by L. argentatus was 14 kg TKN, 206 g NO3-N, and 1.85 g g NH3-N.

Publication Year 1990
Title Gull contributions of phosphorus and nitrogen to a Cape Cod kettle pond
DOI 10.1007/BF00027092
Authors J. W. Portnoy, M. A. Soukup
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrobiologia
Index ID 5223265
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center