Biomanipulation was carried out in order to improve the water quality of the small hypertrophic Lake Zwemlust (1.5 ha; mean depth 1.5 m). In March 1987 the lake was drained to facilitate the elimination of fish. Fish populations were dominated by planktivorous and benthivorous species (total stock c. 1500 kg) and were collected by seine- and electro-fishing. The lake was subsequently re-stocked with 1500 northern pike fingerlings (Esox lucius L.) and a low density of adult rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus). The offspring of the rudd served as food for the predator pike. Stacks of Salix twigs, roots of Nuphar lutea and plantlets of Chara globularis were brought in as refuge and spawning grounds for the pike, as well as shelter for the zooplankton.
The impact of this biomanipulation on the light penetration, phytoplankton density, macrophytes, zooplankton and fish communities and on nutrient concentrations was monitored from March 1987 onwards. This paper presents the results in the first year after biomanipulation.
The abundance of phytoplankton in the first summer (1987) after this biomanipulation was very low, and consequently accompanied by increase of Secchi-disc transparency and drastic decline of chlorophyll a concentration.
The submerged vegetation remained scarce, with only 5 % of the bottom covered by macrophytes at the end of the season.
Zooplankters became more abundant and there was a shift from rotifers to cladocerans, comprised mainly of Daphnia and Bosmina species, the former including at least 3 species.
The offspring of the stocked rudd was present in the lake from the end of August 1987. Only 19% of the stocked pike survived the first year.
Bioassays and experiments with zooplankton community grazing showed that the grazing pressure imposed by the zooplankton community was able to keep chlorophyll a concentrations and algal abundance to low levels, even in the presence of very high concentrations of inorganic N and P. The total nutrient level increased after biomanipulation, probably due to increased release from the sediment by bioturbation, the biomass of chironomids being high.
At the end of 1987 Lake Zwemlust was still in an unstable stage. A new fish population dominated by piscivores, intended to control the planktivorous and benthivorous fish, and the submerged macrophytes did not yet stabilize.