Relating flamingo counts in Lac Goto, Bonaire, to the water balance by coupling this balance to salinity and food availability

Lac Goto is a saliña of importance for the Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) on Bonaire due to its hydrological conditions. These conditions provide a high salinity, which is required for the sources of food for the flamingo, the halotolerant brine shrimp (Artemia salina) and brine fly (Ephydra gracilis). High salt concentrations are caused by a combination of high evaporation rates, low fresh water inflow (by precipitation, surface runoff and groundwater flow; no river) and inflow of seawater through a natural coral dam, separating Lac Goto from the ocean. Between 2010 and 2014, flamingos were absent from Lac Goto, possibly as a result of contamination by chemical agents (mainly PFOS) released in a fire or because of large amounts of precipitation influencing lake salinity and foraging area, resulting in less optimal conditions for (foraging on) halotolerants. A field survey and modeling study were performed to investigate whether large precipitation amounts could be a cause of the disappearance of flamingos.

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