Lake Volkerak-Zoom: a lake shifting from the clear to the turbid state
- Cite this article as:
- Breukers, C.P.M., Dam, E.M.. & Jong, S.A.. Hydrobiologia (1997) 342: 367. doi:10.1023/A:1017043524394
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Lake Volkerak-Zoom (area 6000 ha, mean depth 5 m) was createdin1987 by isolating a part of the Eastern Scheldt estuary. A fewyears after enclosure the new freshwater lake was cleardespite ahigh phosphorus loading. However from 1990 on the transparencydropped.This paper describes the transition from the clear to theturbidstate of lake Volkerak-Zoom. The processes responsible for theultimate lowering of the transparency in the period 1988–1994willbe discussed and also the measures necessary to meet thetargetsituation: clear water with a transparency of 2 m. From 1990ontransparency is decreasing due to an increasing algal biomass,probably caused by a reduced grazing of the zooplankton. It ispossible that deterioration of the food quality (by increasedcyanobacterial blooms) reduced the zooplankton grazing.However,there are indications that increased mortality, caused by fishpredation, played the most important role in the reduction ofthezooplankton grazing. In 1992 the recruitment of fish,especially ofroach (Rutilus rutilus), was high (c. 40 kg ha−1).Thiscaused a high predation pressure on the zooplankton and isshown bya decrease of the mean length and vertical migration of Daphnia in 1992. In the same year the largest zooplanktonspecies,Daphnia pulex, disappeared from the lake. Smallerzooplanktonspecies with a lower grazing capacity remained. Because of thedecreased grazing, the algal biomass increased and thetransparencydropped. We expect that inthe future the lake will become more turbid. As an additionalmeasure to P-reduction, removing of fish is suggested to meetthetarget situation: a lasting clear water state.