, Volume 340, Issue 1–3, pp 285–290 | Cite as

Effects of grazing by fish and waterfowl on the biomass and species composition of submerged macrophytes

  • Ellen Van Donk
  • Adrie Otte
Control of Freshwater and Riparian Vegetation Biological and Biomanipulative Approaches


Biomanipulation improved water transparency of Lake Zwemlust (The Netherlands) drastically. Before biomanipulation no submerged vegetation was present in the lake, but in summer 1987, directly after the measure, submerged macrophyte stands developed following a clear-water phase caused by high zooplankton grazing in spring. During the summers of 1988 and 1989 Elodea nuttallii was the most dominant species and reached a high biomass, but in the summers of 1990 and 1991 Ceratophyllum demersum became dominant. The total macrophyte biomass decreased in 1990 and 1991. In 1992 and 1993 C. demersum and E. nuttallii were nearly absent and Potamogeton berchtholdii became the dominant species, declining to very low abundance during late summer. Successively algal blooms appeared in autumn of those years reaching chlorophyll-a concentrations between 60–130 µg l−1. However, in experimental cages placed on the lake bottom, serving as exclosures for larger fish and birds, E. nuttallii still reached a high abundance during 1992 and 1993. Herbivory by coots (Fulica atra) in autumn/winter, and by rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) in summer, most probably caused the decrease in total abundance of macrophytes and the shift in species composition.

Key words

herbivory biomanipulation waterplants coots rudd Lake Zwemlust 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Van Donk
    • 1
  • Adrie Otte
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Water Quality Management and Aquatic EcologyAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.AquaSenseAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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