, Volume 200, Issue 1, pp 275–289 | Cite as

Whole-lake food-web manipulation as a means to study community interactions in a small ecosystem

  • E. van Donk
  • M. P. Grimm
  • R. D. Gulati
  • J. P. G. Klein Breteler
Part Four: Whole Lake Studies


Whole-lake food-web manipulation was carried out in the hypertrophic Lake Zwemlust (The Netherlands), with the aim of studying the effects on the lake's trophic status and to gain an insight into complex interactions among lake communities. Before manipulation this small (1.5 ha) and shallow (1.5 m) lake was characterized byMicrocystis blooms in summer and high chlorophyll-a concentrations were common (ca. 250 µg 1−1). In March 1987 the planktivorous and benthivorous fish species in the lake were completely removed (ca. 1000 kg ha−1), a new simple fish community (pike and rudd) was introduced and artificial refuges were created. The effects of this manipulation on the light climate, nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, macrophytes, and macrofauna were monitored during 1987, 1988 and 1989. Community interactions were investigated in phytoplankton bioassays and zooplankton grazing experiments. After the manipulation, despite the still high P and N loads to the lake (ca. 2.2 g P m−2 y−1 andca. 5.3 g N m−2 y−1), the phytoplankton density was low (Chl-a<5µg l−1), due to control by large-sized zooplankton in spring and N-limitation in summer and autumn. A marked increase in the abundance of macrophytes and filamentous green algae in 1988 and 1989, as well as N loss due to denitrification, contributed to the N limitation of the phytoplankton. Before manipulation no submerged macro-vegetation was present but in 1988, the second year after manipulation, about 50% of the lake bottom was covered by macrophytes increasing to 80% in 1989. This led to substantial accumulation of both N and P, namely 76% and 73% respectively of the total nutrients in the lake in particulate matter. Undesirable features of the increase in macrophytes were: 1) direct nuisance to swimmers; and, 2) the large scale development of snails, especiallyL. peregra, which may harbour the parasite causing ‘swimmers' itch’. But harvesting of only about 3% of the total macrophyte biomass from the swimmers' area, twice a year, reduced the nuisance for swimmers without adversely affecting the water clarity.

Key words

biomanipulation whole-lake experiments lake restoration food-web phytoplankton zooplankton Lake Zwemlust 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benndorf, J., H. Schultz, A. Benndorf, R. Unger, E. Penz, H. Kneschke, K. Kossatz, R. Dumke, U. Hornig, R. Knispe & S. Reichel, 1988. Food Web manipulation by enhancement of piscivorous fish stocks: long-term effects in the hypertrophic Bautzen Reservoir. Limnologica 19: 97–110.Google Scholar
  2. Bergquist, A. M., S. R. Carpenter & J. C. Latina, 1985. Shifts in phytoplankton size, structure and community composition during grazing by contrasting zooplankton assemblages. Limnol. Oceanogr. 30: 1037–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyd, C. E., 1971. The limnological role of aquatic macrophytes and their relationship to reservoir management. Res. Fish. Limnol. 8: 153–166.Google Scholar
  4. Carpenter, S. R. & J. F. Kitchell, 1988. Consumer control of lake productivity. Bioscience 38: 764–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carpenter, S. R. & D. M. Lodge, 1986. Effects of submerged macrophytes on ecosystem processes. Aquat. Bot. 26: 341–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edmondson, W. T. & S. E. B. Abella, 1988. Unplanned biomanipulation in Lake Washington. Limnologica 19: 73–79.Google Scholar
  7. Frost, T. M., D. L. DeAngelis, S. M. Bartell, D. J. Hall & S. H. Hurlbert, 1988. Scale in the design and interpretation of aquatic community research. In S. R. Carpenter (ed.), Complex interactions in lake communities. Springer-Verlag: 229–261.Google Scholar
  8. Golterman, H. L., 1969. Methods for chemical analysis of freshwaters. IBP Handbook 8, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 166 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Grimm, M. P., 1989. Northern pike (Esox lucius L.) and aquatic vegetation, tools in the management of fisheries and water quality in shallow waters. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 59–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grimm, M. P. & J. J. G. M. Backx, 1990. The restoration of shallow eutrophic lakes and the role of northern pike, aquatic vegetation and nutrient concentration. Hydrobiologia 200/201: 557–566.Google Scholar
  11. Guillard, R. R. L., 1975. Culture of phytoplankton for feeding marine invertebrates. In: W. L. Smith & M. H. Chanley, (Edts.), Culture of marine invertebrate animals. Plenum Press, New York: 26–60.Google Scholar
  12. Gulati, R. D., 1989. Structure and feeding activity of zooplankton community in Lake Zwemlust, in the two years after biomanipulation. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 35–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gulati, R. D. & E. Van Donk, 1989. Biomanipulation in the Netherlands: applications in fresh water ecosystems and estuarine water — an introduction. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gulati, R. D., K. Siewertsen & G. Postma, 1982. The zooplankton: its community structure, food and feeding, and role in the ecosystem of Lake Vechten. Hydrobiologia 95: 127–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hosper, S. H., 1989. Biomanipulation, new perspective for restoring shallow, eutrophic lakes in The Netherlands. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hosper, S. H. & M.-L. Meijer, 1986. Control of phosphorus loading and flushing as restoration methods for Lake Veluwe, The Netherlands. Hydrobiol. Bull. 20: 183–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Howard-Williams, C., 1981. Studies on the ability of aPotamogeton pectinatus community to remove dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus compounds from water. J. appl. Ecol. 18: 619–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hurlbert, S. M., 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecol. Monogr. 54: 187–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kornijów, R., R. D. Gulati & E. Van Donk, 1990. Hydrophyte-macroinvertebrate interactions in Zwemlust, a lake undergoing biomanipulation. Hydrobiologia 200/201: 467–474.Google Scholar
  20. Lammens, E. H. R. R., 1989. Causes and consequences of the success of bream in Dutch eutrophic lakes. Hydrobiol. Bull 23: 11–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Landers, D. H., 1982. Effects of naturally senescing aquatic macrophytes on nutrient chemistry and chlorophylla of surrounding waters. Limnol. Oceanogr. 27: 428–439.Google Scholar
  22. Leah, R. T., B. Moss & D. E. Forrest, 1980. The role of predation in causing major changes in the limnology of a hyper-eutrophic lake. Int. Revue ges. Hydrobiol. 65: 223–247.Google Scholar
  23. Lehman, J. T., 1988. Selective herbivory and its role in the evolution of phytoplankton growth strategies. In C. D. Sandgren (ed.), Growth and reproductive strategies of freshwater phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press: 369–388.Google Scholar
  24. McQueen, D. J. & J. R. Post, 1988. Limnocorral studies of cascading trophic interactions. Verh. int. Ver. Limnol. 23: 739–748.Google Scholar
  25. Meijer, M.-L., A. J. P. Raat and R. W. Doef, 1989. Restoration by biomanipulation of the Dutch shallow, eutrophic lake Bleiswijkse Zoom: first results. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. O'Neill, R. V., D. L. DeAngelis, J. B. Waide & T. F. H. Allen, 1986. A hierarchical concept of ecosystems. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ozimek, T., R. D. Gulati & E. Van Donk, 1990. Can macrophytes be useful in biomanipulation of lakes? The lake Zwemlust example. Hydrobiologia 200/201: 399–407.Google Scholar
  28. Porter, A., 1977. The plant-animal interface in fresh water ecosystems. Am. Sci. 65: 159–170.Google Scholar
  29. Prejs, A., 1984. Herbivory by temperate freshwater fishes and its consequences. Envir. Biol. Fishes 10: 281–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reinertsen, H. & Y. Olsen, 1984. Effects of fish elimination on the phytoplankton community of a eutrophic lake. Verh. int. Ver. Limnol. 22: 649–657.Google Scholar
  31. Reynolds, C. S., 1988. Functional morphology of the adaptive strategies of freshwater phytoplankton. In: Sandgren, C. D. (Ed.), Growth and reproductive strategies of freshwater phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press: 388–434.Google Scholar
  32. Shapiro, J. & D. J. Wright, 1984. Lake restoration by biomanipulation: Round Lake, Minnesota, the first two years. Freshwat. Biol. 14: 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sokal, R. R. & F. J. Rohlf, 1969. Biometry. The principles and practice of statistics in biological research. Freeman, W. M. & Comp., San Francisco.Google Scholar
  34. Van Donk, E. & C. Collé, 1988. Schistosome dermatitis, a possible complication of food-web manipulation in swimming waters (in Dutch; English summary). H2O 24: 696–699.Google Scholar
  35. Van Donk, E., R. D. Gulati & M. P. Grimm, 1989. Food-web manipulation in Lake Zwemlust: positive and negative effects during the first two years. Hydrobiol. Bull. 23: 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Van Donk, E., R. D. Gulati & M. P. Grimm, 1990a. Restoration in a small hypertrophic lake: first-year results. Hydrobiologia 191: 285–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Van Donk, E., A. Veen & J. Ringelberg, 1988. Natural community bioassays to determine the abiotic factors that control phytoplankton growth and succession. Freshwat. Biol. 20: 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van Donk, E., M. P. Grimm, R. D. Gulati, P. G. M. Heuts, W. A. De Kloet & E. Van Liere, 1990b. First attempt to apply whole-lake food-web manipulation on a large scale in the Netherlands. Hydrobiologia 200/201: 291–301.Google Scholar
  39. Van Liere, E., 1986. Loosdrecht lakes, origin, eutrophication, restoration and research programma. Hydrobiol. Bull. 20: 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Liere, E., L. Van Ballegooijen, W. A. De Kloet, K. Siewertsen, P. Kouwenhoven & T. Aldenberg, 1986. Primary production in the various parts of the Loosdrecht lakes. Hydrobiol. Bull. 20: 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vanni, M. J., 1987. Effects of nutrients and zooplankton size on the structure of a phytoplankton community. Ecology 68: 624–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Winberg, C. al., 1971. Symbols, units and converison factors of freshwater productivity. IBP. London, 23 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. van Donk
    • 1
  • M. P. Grimm
    • 2
  • R. D. Gulati
    • 3
  • J. P. G. Klein Breteler
    • 4
  1. 1.Provincial Waterboard of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Witteveen & Bos, Consulting EngineersDeventerThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Limnological Institute‘Vijverhof’ laboratoryNieuwersluisThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Organization for Improvement of the Inland FisheriesNieuwegeinThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations