Saline lakes provide a prey-rich, predator-free environment for birds to utilize during migration and stopover periods. The Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah is the largest salt lake in North America and is utilized by millions of migratory birds. It also is host to multiple commercial endeavors. Proposed expansion of commercial use of the GSL would result in increased impounded area and water extraction for mineral production, which may increase the GSL’s salinity and negatively impact invertebrate abundance. I review previous literature and synthesize diets of avian species utilizing the GSL to determine the importance of each invertebrate species, including brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) and brine flies (Ephydra spp.), and clarify the anthropogenic impacts on food sources and avian populations. Species considered are eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis), northern shovelers (Anas clypeata), green-winged teals (Anas crecca), common goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula), American avocets (Recurvirostra americana), black-necked stilts (Himantopus mexicanus), Wilson’s phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor), red-necked phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus), and California gulls (Larus californicus). Brine shrimp and brine fly adults are consumed by all species considered. Alterations in prey abundance due to increased salinity may alter the ability of the GSL to support large avian populations.
Roberts, Anthony J.
"Avian Diets in a Saline Ecosystem: Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 7
, Article 15.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol7/iss1/15