Biomanipulation as an Application of Food-Chain Theory: Constraints, Synthesis, and Recommendations for Temperate Lakes
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The aim of this review is to identify problems, find general patterns, and extract recommendations for successful biomanipulation. An important conclusion is that the pelagic food chain from fish to algae may not be the only process affected by a biomanipulation. Instead, this process should be viewed as the “trigger” for secondary processes, such as establishment of submerged macrophytes, reduced internal loading of nutrients, and reduced resuspension of particles from the sediment. However, fish reduction also leads to a high recruitment of young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, which feed extensively on zooplankton. This expansion of YOY the first years after fish reduction is probably a major reason for less successful biomanipulations. Recent, large-scale biomanipulations have made it possible to update earlier recommendations regarding when, where, and how biomanipulation should be performed. More applicable recommendations include (1) the reduction in the biomass of planktivorous fish should be 75% or more; (2) the fish reduction should be performed efficiently and rapidly (within 1–3 years); (3) efforts should be made to reduce the number of benthic feeding fish; (4) the recruitment of YOY fish should be reduced; (5) the conditions for establishment of submerged macrophytes should be improved; and (6) the external input of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) should be reduced as much as possible before the biomanipulation. Recent biomanipulations have shown that, correctly performed, the method also achieves results in large, relatively deep and eutrophic lakes, at least in a 5-year perspective. Although repeated measures may be necessary, the general conclusion is that biomanipulation is not only possible, but also a relatively inexpensive and attractive method for management of eutrophic lakes, and in particular as a follow-up measure to reduced nutrient load.
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