Does salinity have an influence on the diversity and structure of the wintering waterbirds of the Saharan wetlands in Algeria?

Latest version published by Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona on May 28, 2021 Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona

Between 2017 and 2019, 42 species of wintering waterbirds were recorded in the wetland complex of the Oued Righ valley in the Algerian Sahara. The intersite amplitudes of salinity explained the variations in species richness and distribution of waterbirds in the various wetlands studied. Oligohaline (0.5-5 ‰) and mesohaline (5-18 ‰) environments, represented by Lake Ayata, Lake Sidi Khelil and Oued Kherouf, were the most favorable to Anatidae with the exception of the Tadornes where their presence was noted in the euhaline (30-40 ‰) and hyperhaline stations (> 40 ‰). The presence of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus and the Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei stood out in the most holomorphic areas of the complex, such as Chott Merouane.

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Khirani–Betrouche, F., Moulaï, R., 2021. Does salinity have an influence on the diversity and structure of the wintering waterbirds of the Saharan wetlands in Algeria? Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona. Dataset/Occurrence. https://doi.org/

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This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 20eb55d9-e808-4ae1-af7a-172a3358f926.  Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Spain.

Keywords

Waterbirds; Sahara; Wetlands; Salinity; Algeria; Occurrence

Contacts

Who created the resource:

F. Khirani-Betrouche
Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Animal Ecophysiology LZA, Faculty of Natural and Life Sciences
University of Bejaïa Bejaïa DZ

Who can answer questions about the resource:

F. Khirani-Betrouche
Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Animal Ecophysiology LZA, Faculty of Natural and Life Sciences
University of Bejaïa Bejaïa DZ
R. Moulaï
Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Animal Ecophysiology LZA, Faculty of Natural and Life Sciences
University of Bejaïa Bejaïa DZ

Who filled in the metadata:

Montse Ferrer
Managing Editor
Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona Pg. Picasso s/n. 08003 Barcelona Barcelona

Who else was associated with the resource:

Metadata Provider
Montse Ferrer
Managing Editor AMZ
Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona Ps Picasso s/n 08003 Barcelona

Geographic Coverage

The eco-complex of the Oued Righ Valley wetlands in the Algerian Sahara is one of the most important wetland complexes in Algeria. This Saharan depression constitutes a wintering area that is favorable for the aquatic avifauna of the western Palearctic and a migratory stopover during the great crossing of the Sahara to reach the sub-Sahelian wetlands.

Bounding Coordinates South West [33.053, 5.971], North East [34.03, 6.999]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Order  Accipitriformes,  Anseriformes,  Charadriiformes,  Ciconiiformes,  Gruiformes,  Passeriformes,  Pelecaniformes,  Phoenicopteriformes,  Podicipediformes,  Suliformes
Family  Accipitridae,  Anatidae,  Recurvirostridae,  Charadridae,  Scolopacidae,  Laridae,  Ciconiidae,  Rallidae,  Hirundinidea,  Ardeidae,  Threskiornithidae,  Phoenicopteridae,  Podicipedidae,  Phalacrocoracidae

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2017-12-17 / 2019-04-24

Project Data

Wetlands are reservoirs for biodiversity, providing habitats for large numbers of waterbirds (Sebastián-González and Green 2014; Cherkaoui et al., 2015, 2017). However, data on wetlands at the southern border of the Mediterranean in North Africa, especially those in inland areas, (Hamza and Selmi, 2018) have received little attention and data are lacking. Many North African wetlands, nevertheless, are recognized as Important Bird Areas and appear to play a crucial role as wintering and breeding sites for a wide range of waterbirds (Bensaci et al., 2013; Cherkaoui et al., 2015; Hamza and Selmi 2015; Cherkaoui et al., 2017). The distribution of birds throughout the wetland area is related to the biological and ecological criteria characteristic of both the species and the site (Houhamdi, 1998; Houhamdi and Samraoui, 2002). Understanding the relationships between species richness and environmental factors is fundamental for better management and conservation (Donald et al., 2002; Kosicki and Chylarecki, 2012). The physico-chemical parameters of wetlands (salinity, PH, temperature, oxygen levels, mineralization and conductivity) influence the choice of feeding, resting and breeding sites for many species of waterfowl. Our present study focuses on the possible influence of water salinity on the distribution and structure of the aquatic avifauna of Saharan wetlands. Salinity is a structuring parameter in the biology of aquatic organisms (Green and Figuerola, 2003; Kushlan, 1993). Various waterbird communities have been observed along the salinity gradient (Ysebaert et al., 2000), particularly in arid conditions, thus influencing the choice of feeding, resting and breeding sites for many species of aquatic birds. Salinity could therefore be an indicator of these characteristics of the environment. Waterbirds are sensitive to changes in salinity. The ability of large numbers of waterbirds to profitably use saline lakes basically depends on concentrations of invertebrate fauna (Senner et al., 2018). Waterbird use of these arid-land wetlands throughout the annual cycle depends on physiological adaptations that take advantage of abundant saline wetland-derived prey. These adaptations are linked to metabolism, digestion, and osmosis. Newly-hatched waterbirds, for example, must be raised near fresh water as they do not yet have a well-developed salt gland to cope with heavy salt loads (Haig et al., 2019). To our knowledge, this is the first study in this area to relate salinity, a distinctive physicochemical parameter in these wetlands, with the distribution of wintering waterbirds. It should be noted that the Oued Righ Valley was the subject of a single sampling study in which 53 waterbird species of all statuses were recorded by Bensaci et al. (2013).

Title Does salinity have an influence on the diversity and structure of the wintering waterbirds of the Saharan wetlands in Algeria?
Study Area Description The eco-complex of the Oued Righ Valley wetlands in the Algerian Sahara is one of the most important wetland complexes in Algeria. This Saharan depression constitutes a wintering area that is favorable for the aquatic avifauna of the western Palearctic and a migratory stopover during the great crossing of the Sahara to reach the sub-Sahelian wetlands (Isenmann and Moali, 2000).
Design Description The field study was conducted during two wintering periods (2017-2018 and 2018- 2019). Thirty-three visits totaling approximately 230 hours were made. Counts were carried out by direct observation of different waterbird species using a telescope (KITE SP 82 ED) and binoculars. An exhaustive count of individuals was carried out when the distance was less than about 200 m and the number of individuals was less than 200. When the group was greater than 200 individuals or if it was at a remote distance, we proceeded by dividing the visual field into several bands, counting the number of birds in an average band and reported as many times as bands (Blondel, 1975; Tamisier and Dehorter, 1999). All wetlands except Chott Merouane were fully studied. In Chott Merouane, which is very large, we established three stations, covering a total area of about 1,500 hectares. To calculate wetland salinity, we chose the direct method using a portable optical refractometer with a measuring range of 0-100‰. We analysed a total of eleven stations on the six wetlands and classified these according to the categorization of the salinity of Mediterranean wetlands proposed by Farinha et al. (1996): freshwater < 0.5 ‰, Oligohaline (0.5-5 ‰), Mesohaline (5-18‰), Polyhaline (18-30‰), Euhaline (30-40‰) and Hyperhaline > 40‰. The salinity was determined during the wintering periods in 11 stations of the Oued Righ wetland complex (table 3). To measure the salinity of stations, we employed the direct method, using a portable optical refractometer with automatic temperature compensation (ATC) from AUTOUTLET with a measuring range from 0 to 100‰. To determine the affinities and intersite variations according to the different degrees of salinity we carried out a factor analysis of correspondences (AFC). The significance level for statistical analysis is p-value < 0.001. To determine the affinities and inter-site variations according to the different salinity levels during the monitoring periods, a correspondence factorial analysis was carried out using XLstat version 2016 software. The significance level for statistical analysis was p-value < 0.001.

The personnel involved in the project:

Author
F. Khirani-Betrouche

Sampling Methods

The field study was conducted during two wintering periods (2017-2018 and 2018- 2019). Thirty-three visits totaling approximately 230 hours were made. Counts were carried out by direct observation of different waterbird species using a telescope (KITE SP 82 ED) and binoculars. An exhaustive count of individuals was carried out when the distance was less than about 200 m and the number of individuals was less than 200. When the group was greater than 200 individuals or if it was at a remote distance, we proceeded by dividing the visual field into several bands, counting the number of birds in an average band and reported as many times as bands (Blondel, 1975; Tamisier and Dehorter, 1999). All wetlands except Chott Merouane were fully studied. In Chott Merouane, which is very large, we established three stations, covering a total area of about 1,500 hectares.

Study Extent The eco-complex of the Oued Righ Valley wetlands in the Algerian Sahara is one of the most important wetland complexes in Algeria. This Saharan depression constitutes a wintering area that is favorable for the aquatic avifauna of the western Palearctic and a migratory stopover during the great crossing of the Sahara to reach the sub-Sahelian wetlands (Isenmann and Moali, 2000). The Oued Righ Valley includes several wetlands, three of which are classified as RAMSAR sites: Chott Merouane, Oued Kherouf and Chott Sidi Slimane. This valley in south-eastern Algeria occupies an area of 11,738 km 2 (Khechana et al., 2010). As part of the whole of the lower Sahara basin, it is a vast depression elongated between 32° 54 N and 34° 9 N. Like all Saharan regions, this depression is characterized by an arid continental climate. The average annual rainfall is low and irregular, about 80 mm, so it does not have a role in the direct recharge of aquifers and wetlands (Habes et al., 2016). The water comes from runoff, and surplus irrigation water arises not only from the drainage of palm groves but also from groundwater (Khechana and Derradji, 2014). Our study focused on six wetlands: Chott Merouane (sometimes designated on maps as Chott Felrhir) and Oued Kherouf - both of which have been classified as Ramsar sites since 2 February 2001 - , Lake of Sidi khelil, Chott Tendla, Lake of Ayata (fig. 2) and Lake of Merdjadja.
Quality Control To calculate wetland salinity, we chose the direct method using a portable optical refractometer with a measuring range of 0-100‰. We analysed a total of eleven stations on the six wetlands and classified these according to the categorization of the salinity of Mediterranean wetlands proposed by Farinha et al. (1996): freshwater < 0.5 ‰, Oligohaline (0.5-5 ‰), Mesohaline (5-18‰), Polyhaline (18-30‰), Euhaline (30-40‰) and Hyperhaline > 40‰.

Method step description:

  1. The salinity was determined during the wintering periods in 11 stations of the Oued Righ wetland complex (table 3). To measure the salinity of stations, we employed the direct method, using a portable optical refractometer with automatic temperature compensation (ATC) from AUTOUTLET with a measuring range from 0 to 100‰. To determine the affinities and intersite variations according to the different degrees of salinity we carried out a factor analysis of correspondences (AFC). The significance level for statistical analysis is p-value < 0.001. To determine the affinities and inter-site variations according to the different salinity levels during the monitoring periods, a correspondence factorial analysis was carried out using XLstat version 2016 software. The significance level for statistical analysis was p-value< 0.001.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Khirani–Betrouche, F., Moulaï, R., 2021. Does salinity have an influence on the diversity and structure of the wintering waterbirds of the Saharan wetlands in Algeria? Arxius de Miscel·lània Zoològica, 19: 99–111, Doi: https://doi.org/10.32800/amz.2021.19.0099

Additional Metadata

Alternative Identifiers 10.15470/6fqd0h
https://ipt.gbif.es/resource?r=waterbirds_algerian_sahara