Nutrient loading in lakes is recognized as a serious threat to water quality. Over 25 years of raw sewage effluent discharge shifted Lake Eymir from a state dominated by submerged plants to a turbid water state. Successful effluent diversion undertaken in 1995 achieved 88% and 95% reductions in the areal loading of total phosphorus (TP) and dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), respectively. Furthermore, the reduced load of TP was very close to the suggested threshold areal load (0.6 g m−2 yr−1) to attain recovery. Even though diversion also reduced the in-lake TP level by half, the poor water clarity and low submerged plant coverage (112 ± 43 cm and 2.5% coverage of the lake total surface area, respectively) persisted. Domination of the fish stock by planktivorous tench (Tinca tinca L.) and the benthivorous common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) (66 ± 0.7 and 31 ± 1 kg CPUE, respectively) appeared to perpetuate the poor water condition. A substantial fish removal effort over 1 year achieved a 57% reduction in the fish stock which led to a 2.5-fold increase in Secchi disk transparency. This increase occurred largely because of a 4.5-fold decrease in the inorganic suspended solid concentration, and to some extent, a decrease in chlorophyll-a concentration. A strong top-down effect of fish on the large-sized grazers was evident as density and the body size of Daphnia pulexde Geer increased significantly after the fish removal. Even though the spring and annual euphotic depths occurred well above the maximum and mean depths of the lake, respectively, re-development of submerged plants was poor (6.2% coverage). A weak re-establishment of submerged plants might be attributed to an insufficiently viable seed bank, inappropriate chemical conditions of the sediment (severe oxygen deficiency), or to the high coot (Fulica atra L.) density. However, the top-down effect of fish appeared to be of great importance in determining water clarity, and in turn, conditions for submerged plant development in a warm temperate lake as recorded in the north temperate lakes. Furthermore, this study provides evidence for the importance of top-down control of fish, which, in turn, can be effectively utilised as a restoration strategy in warm-temperate lakes as well. More applications, along with long monitoring programs, are needed to develop a better understanding about requirements for biomanipulation success in this climate.
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Beklioglu, M., Ince, O. & Tuzun, I. Restoration of the eutrophic Lake Eymir, Turkey, by biomanipulation after a major external nutrient control I. Hydrobiologia 490, 93–105 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023466629489
- sewage effluent diversion
- submerged plants
- suspended solids
- warm-temperate climate