Goose faeces: a source of nitrogen for plant growth in a grazed salt marsh.

Published online
30 Nov 1988
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Bazely, D. R. & Jefferies, R. L.

Publication language
Canada & Manitoba


Effects of goose faeces on salt marsh vegetation at La Pérouse Bay, Manitoba together with the processes of faecal decay, were studied in order to determine how goose grazing significantly increased the net above-ground primary production of forage species, Puccinellia phryganodes (Trin.) Scribn. & Merr., and Carex subspathacea Wormsk.newline˜Addition of fresh faeces to experimental plots at rates comparable to those recorded in the salt marsh, resulted in significant increases in standing crop compared with untreated plots. The N content of shoots collected from treated plots was also higher.Much of the N initially present in faeces was soluble (60% w/v ethanol extraction), but within 48 h the soluble N content fell. Faeces placed in mesh bags for 2.5 months lost DM and soluble N; little decomposition of organic N was detected. Except for the period immediately after the hatch of goslings, much of the soluble N in faeces was ammonia. The N content of faeces differed within and between droppings.

Key words