Turkish Journal of Biodiversity, vol.5, no.1, pp.17-29, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
The losses in wetlands, which are critical for many rare and endangered plant and animal species on a global scale, reveal the need to quickly determine and protect the biodiversity of these sensitive ecosystems. Waterbirds are indicators of the sustainability and functionality of the ecosystem as the species that responds most quickly to changes in the wetland ecosystem. The vast majority of waterbird populations are migratory. Especially in Northern Europe, breeding waterbird populations migrate further south to their wintering grounds in order to survive the winter conditions. In the study, International Waterbird Census (IWC) conducted in 2021 in wetlands with different habitat characteristics around the Dardanelles were evaluated. 3086 individuals belonging to 30 waterbird species were counted in Kavak Delta, 31 species and 1150 individuals in Çardak Lagoon, 22 species and 3906 individuals in Gökçeada Salt Lake, 11 species and 289 individuals in Suvla Salt Lake and 8 species and 84 individuals in Uzunhızırlı Pond. The highest species diversity (Shannon-Wiener Indices, H: 2,473) and the highest species richness (Margalef Index, M: 4,257) were calculated in the Çardak Lagoon. As the number of habitats in the wetland increased, the number of species also increased (p<0.0001). As a result, the data obtained revealed the importance of the wetlands for the winter visitor waterbirds, and pioneering data were presented for the sustainability of the wetlands in future studies.