SREL Reprint #0382




Abundance and Diversity of Waterfowl Inhabiting Heated and Unheated Portions of a Reactor Cooling Reservoir

I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr.



Census counts were made of waterfowl inhabiting both heated and unheated portions of an 1120-ha cooling reservoir receiving heated effluents from an atomic production reactor.  Of 6544 birds, over 99% were counted between the months of October and April.  Over 66% of those identified to species were American coots.  Although the heated and the unheated study areas were less than 4 km apart and birds could freely move between them, significant differences were observed in the numbers and species diversity of the waterfowl.  Significantly more birds and a greater species diversity were found in the unheated area; diversity differences were mainly attributable to a decrease in species richness in the heated area.  Dabbling ducks were absent from the heated area and seemed more thermally sensitive than diving ducks.  Certain species of diving ducks, such as the lesser scaup, appeared to exhibit a greater degree of ecological thermal tolerance than other species, e.g., the ring-necked duck.  Pied-billed grebes seemed to show the greatest ecological thermal tolerance, occurring in equal numbers in both heated and unheated areas.


SREL Reprint #0382

 Brisbin, I.L., Jr. 1974. Abundance and diversity of waterfowl inhabiting heated and unheated portions of a reactor cooling reservoir. p. 579-593. In Thermal Ecology, edited by J.W. Gibbons and R.R. Sharitz. CONF 730505. Atomic Energy Commission

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