Waterfowl can passively transport propagules through internal and external mechanisms. Internal transport, called endozoochory, occurs when propagules are consumed, carried and excreted in a new location. For this to be successful in waterfowl, propagules must be able to survive avian digestive processes. Gizzard size is the main contributor to mechanical digestion in birds and can change in response to diet variations. Potential for endozoochoric dispersal has been studied extensively with plant seeds, but research on branchiopod eggs is limited. The goal of this study was to quantify the viability rate of fairy shrimp eggs that were consumed and excreted by mallard ducks and identify the effects of diet on that rate. Six mallards were divided on two different diets and fed two rounds of 200 fairy shrimp eggs each. Their excrement was collected for hatching trials, but no hatched fairy shrimp were identified. The results indicate that internal transport of fairy shrimp by mallards may be lower than previously expected.
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Clark, Daniel, "ASSESSING DIETARY FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE BRANCHIOPOD CYST VIABILITY RATES FOLLOWING MALLARD DIGESTION AND EXCRETION" (2021). Honors Projects. 664.