Part Two: Lake Changes Related to the Influence of Man


, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 107-111

First online:

The mythical concept of eutrophication

  • M. C. WhitesideAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology & Graduate Program in Ecology, University of Tennessee

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Paleolimnologists frequently invoke the term ‘eutrophication’ for describing apparent enrichment phases in the history of a lake. I argue that this term is often used incorrectly and that alternative explanations can serve as more accurate descriptions. Increased organic content in the sedimentary record may result from increased nutrient availability (eutrophication), but it can also reflect decreased residence time of water, or changes in biotic interactions, or changes in lake morphometry.

Additionally, I argue that ‘eutrophication’ is an inappropriate term for describing the aging process of lakes. Lake ontogeny is the preferred term, as it does not imply directional changes in nutrients, nor in community structure.


paleolimnology lake ontogeny lake succession eutrophication