, Volume 778, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Major changes in CO2 efflux when shallow lakes shift from a turbid to a clear water state

  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Dennis Trolle
  • Thomas A. Davidson
  • Rikke Bjerring
  • Martin Søndergaard
  • Liselotte S. Johansson
  • Torben L. Lauridsen
  • Anders Nielsen
  • Søren E. Larsen
  • Mariana Meerhoff


Lakes can be sources or sinks of carbon, depending on local conditions. Recent studies have shown that the CO2 efflux increases when lakes recover from eutrophication, mainly as a result of a reduction in phytoplankton biomass, leading to less uptake of CO2 by producers. We hypothesised that lake restoration by removal of coarse fish (biomanipulation) or invasion of mussels would have a similar effect. We studied 14–22 year time series of five temperate Danish lakes and found profound effects on the calculated CO2 efflux of major shifts in ecosystem structure. In two lakes, where limited colonisation of submerged macrophytes occurred after biomanipulation or invasion of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), the efflux increased significantly with decreasing phytoplankton chlorophyll a. In three lakes with major interannual variation in macrophyte abundance, the efflux declined with increasing macrophyte abundance in two of the lakes, while no relation to macrophytes or chlorophyll a was found in the third lake, likely due to high groundwater input to this lake. We conclude that clearing water through invasive mussels or lake restoration by biomanipulation may increase the CO2 efflux from lakes. However, if submerged macrophytes establish and form dense beds, the CO2 efflux may decline again.


Air–water CO2 flux Recovery Eutrophication Macrophytes Zebra mussel Lake metabolism 



We are grateful to CRES (Centre for Regional Change in the Earth System), the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (, CLEAR (a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence project on lake restoration) and CIRCE (Centre of Ecoinformatics Research in Complexity in Ecology funded by the AU IDEAS programme) for providing financial support. MM is supported by PEDECIBA, SNI-ANII and the L´Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science National Award.

Supplementary material

10750_2015_2469_MOESM1_ESM.docx (39 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 40kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Jeppesen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dennis Trolle
    • 1
    • 3
  • Thomas A. Davidson
    • 1
  • Rikke Bjerring
    • 1
  • Martin Søndergaard
    • 1
  • Liselotte S. Johansson
    • 1
  • Torben L. Lauridsen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anders Nielsen
    • 1
  • Søren E. Larsen
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mariana Meerhoff
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Lake Ecology Section, Department of Bioscience and the Arctic Research CentreAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Catchment Science and Environmental Management Section, Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research (SDC)BeijingChina
  4. 4.Departamento de Ecología Teórica y Aplicada, Centro Universitario de la Región Este-Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de la RepúblicaMaldonadoUruguay

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