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.
Additional publication details
Gull contributions of phosphorus and nitrogen to a Cape Cod kettle pond