Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Nitrogen isotopic patterns of vegetation as affected by breeding activity of Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassiostris): a coupled analysis of feces, inorganic soil nitrogen and flora.

Abstract

Two currently breeding colonies (Matsushima Bay and Rishiri island; northern Japan) of predominant Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassiostris) were studied for N isotopic patterns of flora, which is affected by increased supply of inorganic soil N derived from the microbial transformation of feces. Coupled samples of feces, topsoil and flora were collected in early to mid July (2008), when input of fecal N onto soils was at its maximum. As bird migration and breeding continued, native Japanese red-pine (Pinus densiflora), junipers (Juniperus chinensis and Juniperus rigita; Matsushima Bay colony) and Sasa senanensis (Rishiri colony) declined, while ornithocoprophilus exotic plants succeeded. Among tree species on the islands, P. densiflora with ectomycorrizal colonization appears highly susceptible to elevated concentrations of NH4-N in the topsoil. A mechanism for best explaining the plant succession associated with the breeding activity of Black-tailed Gull was evidenced by two parameters: first, concomitant elevation of N content in the flora and second, inorganic soil N content, along with changes in N isotopic composition (δ15N). Earlier isotopic data on the foliar N affected by breeding activity were compiled and reviewed. Emphasis was put on isotopic information for inorganic N in soils that controls plant succession.