Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
1. In addition to effects of direct predation by planktivorous fish, nutrient recycling by fish may also contribute to structuring foodwebs in lakes. There is little evidence, however, about whether underyearling fish undergoing several ontogenetic diet shifts may have a comparable bottom-up impact.2. This study examined seasonal patterns of phosphorus (P) concentration and external load, phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthos, and diet shifts in three underyearling fish [perch (Perca fluviatilis), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus)] in the shallow, hypertrophic biomanipulated Bautzen reservoir, Germany. Phosphorus metabolism of fish was calculated by a balanced bioenergetics model on the basis of fish diet, growth and water temperature.3. The fish showed several shifts from planktivory to other food sources during the sampling period from May to September. These shifts were probably caused by the seasonal succession of the zooplankton community, mainly the midsummer decline of Daphnia galeata.4. The diet shifts in fish also had consequences for the amount of P consumed and released. During periods of dominant zooplanktivory, the excretion of P did not exceed the removal of P stored in pelagic prey. By contrast, if benthivory dominated, fish subsidized the pelagic P pool by excreting more P from benthic prey than had been removed from the pelagic area. This occurred predominantly in perch and ruffe during periods of low zooplankton biomass, whereas the roach ate more algae and therefore excreted less P of benthic origin.5. Phosphorus release by underyearling fish was estimated at a maximum of 0.1 mg m–3 JY day–1. This value was negligible compared with both the external load of P to Bautzen reservoir and the concentration of P in the pelagic area during summer. It is therefore concluded that both the predominance of underyearling zooplanktivorous fish and the high Daphnia biomass during certain periods of the year in the Bautzen reservoir may be the reason that nutrient release by the fish structured the foodweb only marginally. 6. This study suggests that biomanipulation has altered both top-down and bottom-up impacts of fish in Bautzen reservoir. The highest efficiency of foodweb manipulations may be obtained after reduction of the external P loading below a certain threshold. In turn, if external restoration of eutrophied lakes is not accompanied by changes in fish community, then the combined forces of strong zooplanktivory and high P recycling of dense stocks of zooplanktivorous and benthivorous fish may hold the water in a eutrophic-like stage, even if external load has been significantly reduced.
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