DNA metabarcoding assessment of the Grey Plover’s (Pluvialis squatarola) diet in relation to its feeding preferences and endoparasite (helminth) infestation during spring and autumn migration on the western Black Sea coast, Bulgaria
Project duration: 2024
Keywords: shorebirds, waders, diet composition, feeding preferences, DNA metabarcoding, faecal analysis, grey plover, black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola, coastal food webs, Bulgarian Black Seа

The Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) is a widespread long-distant migratory shorebird, protected under Bulgarian legislation. Along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, which the Grey Plover visits during its autumn and spring migration, its foraging ecology is poorly studied. The project investigates the Grey Plover’s diet composition and feeding preferences, as well as its endoparasite (helminth) infestation, by DNA metabarcoding of faecal samples, and compares them to prey availability at its migration stopover sites along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The results contribute to our understanding of coastal food webs and ecosystem functioning, and could be used for designing conservation and management strategies for the littoral and supralittoral zones of the Black Sea coast as critical habitats for Grey Plover and other migratory shorebirds.

  • Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research
  • Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Contact people: 

Liliana Vassileva,

Stefania Klayn,

List with publications

Vassileva, L., Lozanova, L., Marinov, M., Morinière, J., Neov, B., Nikolov, B., Simov, N., Klayn, S., in prep. Prey availability and diet composition of the Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) during autumn and spring migration on the western Black Sea coast, Bulgaria