, Volume 737, Issue 1, pp 309–320 | Cite as

Assessing the responses of aquatic macrophytes to the application of a lanthanum modified bentonite clay, at Loch Flemington, Scotland, UK

  • Iain D. M. Gunn
  • Sebastian Meis
  • Stephen C. Maberly
  • Bryan M. Spears


Loch Flemington is a shallow lake of international conservation and scientific importance. In recent decades, its status has declined as a result of eutrophication and the establishment of non-native invasive aquatic macrophytes. As previous research had identified the lake bed sediments as an important source of phosphorus (P), the P-capping material Phoslock® was applied to improve water quality. This article documents the responses of the aquatic macrophyte community by comparing data collected between 1988 and 2011. Summer water-column total P concentrations decreased significantly and water clarity increased following treatment. Aquatic plant colonisation depth increased and plant coverage of the lake bed extended. However, the submerged vegetation remained dominated by the non-native Elodea canadensis Michx. Aquatic macrophyte community metrics indicated no significant change in trophic status. Species richness and the number of ‘natural’ eutrophic characteristic species remained broadly similar with no records of rare species of conservation interest. Loch Flemington is still classified as being in ‘unfavourable no change’ condition based on its aquatic macrophytes despite the water quality improvements. The implications of these results are discussed in relation to the future management of Loch Flemington and in the wider context of trying to improve our understanding of lake restoration processes.


Eutrophication Loch Flemington Lake restoration P-capping material Aquatic macrophytes Lake management 



The authors wish to thank the following for carrying out aquatic macrophyte fieldwork at Loch Flemington: Dr Laurence Carvalho, Alex Kirika and Kathy Dale for the 2003/04 SCM surveys; to Sue Bell and Sabrina Eckert for the 2010 SCM surveys; to Mike O’Malley, Amy Anderson and Myriam Kellou for their help with fieldwork over the 2009–2011 period. The authors are especially grateful to Dr Mattie O’Hare for his help and advice in preparing this article. The input of Dr Linda May and Dr Rupert Perkins into the Loch Flemington project is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are also grateful to Mr. John Pottie and Dr. Alastair Noble for their continued support of the monitoring programme. The authors also wish to thank Nigel Traill and Said Yasseri from Phoslock® Europe GmbH, Ian Milne from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Tim Dawson, Dr Mary Hennessy, Ben Leyshon and Dr Iain Sime from Scottish Natural Heritage for their valuable support of this research. The authors also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which improved the article. Phoslock® Europe GmbH was not involved in the monitoring design, sample analysis or interpretation of the data. Sebastian Meis was jointly funded by CEH and by a DAAD Scholarship (agreement number D/08/42393).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain D. M. Gunn
    • 1
  • Sebastian Meis
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Maberly
    • 2
  • Bryan M. Spears
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Ecology & HydrologyPenicuikUK
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology & HydrologyLancaster Environment CentreBailriggUK

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