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Limitations of macrophytes in a eutrophic lake loch leven scotland part 2 wave action sediments and waterfowl grazing

, : Limitations of macrophytes in a eutrophic lake loch leven scotland part 2 wave action sediments and waterfowl grazing. Journal of Ecology 65(2): 431-446

Limitations on the growth of the 2 most important submerged macrophytes in Loch Leven, [Scotland, United Kingdom], Potamogeton filiformis and P. pectinatus, were shown to result from wave action and from grazing by waterfowl. Wave action operates directly, by reducing plant biomass in exposed situations, and indirectly, by producing coarser, more nutrient-poor sediments in exposed situations. Protection from wave action and from waterfowl grazing by 'Perspex' tubes and by wire enclosures led to increased biomass levels, and these findings were corroborated by transplant experiments between a sheltered and an exposed site. Up to 80% of the end-of-season biomass differences could be attributed to the effects of wave action, and the remainder to waterfowl grazing. Shoot lengths of completely protected plants of P. filiformis at the exposed site were only half those of plants growing at the sheltered site, and this difference was correlated with differing P levels in the sediments. Maximum biomass levels, however, were still low compared with published data for other eutrophic lakes, and this reduction was attributed to the combined effects of phytoplankton competition, wave action and grazing. The implantations for management of the lake in the light of these findings are discussed.


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