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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 251, Issue 1–3, pp 19–26 | Cite as

Macrophyte-related shifts in the nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the different trophic levels in a biomanipulated shallow lake

  • Ellen van Donk
  • Ramesh D. Gulati
  • Arjen Iedema
  • John T. Meulemans
Wetlands, lake littoral zones

Abstract

Lake Zwemlust, a small highly eutrophic lake, was biomanipulated without reducing the external nutrient loading, and the effects were studied for four years. In this paper we pay special attention to the shifts in relative distribution of nitrogen and phosphorus in the different trophic levels and to the changes in growth limitation of the autotrophs.

Despite of the high external nutrient loads to the lake (ca 2.4 g P m−2 y−1 and 9.6 g N m−2 y−1), the effects of biomanipulation on the lake ecosystem were pronounced. Before biomanipulation no submerged vegetation was present in the lake and P and N were stored in the phytoplankton (44% N, 47% P), fish (33% N, 9% P) and in dissolved forms (23% N, 44% P). P and N contents in sediments were not determined. In the spring and summer following the biomanipulation (1987), zooplankton grazing controlled the phytoplankton biomass and about 90% of N and P were present in dissolved form in the water. From 1988 onwards submerged macrophyte stands continue to thrive, reducing the ammonium and nitrate concentrations in the water below detection levels. In July 1989 storage of N and P in the macrophytes reached 86% and 80%, respectively. Elodea nuttallii (Planchon) St.John, the dominant species in 1988 and 1989, acted as sink both for N and P during spring and early summer, withdrawing up to ca 60% of its N and P content from the sediment. At the end of the year only part of the N and P from the decayed macrophytes (ca 30% of N and 60% of P) was recovered in the water phase of the ecosystem (chiefly in dissolved forms). The rest remained in the sediment, although some N may have been released from the lake by denitrification.

In summer 1990 only 30% of the N and P was found in the macrophytes (dominant species Ceratophyllum demersum L.), while ca 30% of N and P was again stored in phytoplankton and fish.

Key words

whole-lake experiment biomanipulation macrophytes nitrogen and phosphorus retention trophic levels 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen van Donk
    • 1
  • Ramesh D. Gulati
    • 2
  • Arjen Iedema
    • 1
  • John T. Meulemans
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Nature ConservationAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Limnological Institute, ‘Vijverhof’ LaboratoryNieuwersluisThe Netherlands
  3. 3.AquaSenseAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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