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Effects of waterfowl, large fish and periphyton on the spring growth of Potamogeton pectinatus L. in Lake Mogan, Turkey

Abstract

It has been argued that waterfowl and fish may threaten growth of submerged macrophytes, especially in spring during the early growth phase when plant biomass is low. A small reduction of biomass at that time might delay growth or decrease subsequent productivity. We investigated the impact of waterfowl and large fish on the spring growth of fennel pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatusL.) by employing an exclosure experiment in the macrophyte-dominated clear-water Lake Mogan, Turkey. Birds and large fish were excluded from eight plots and both in situvegetation and macrophytes kept in pots were compared to eight open plots. Also, to investigate the effect of periphyton on plant growth it was removed from half of the pot plants. Exclusion of waterfowl and fish may decrease predation on macroinvertebrates, which in turn may affect periphyton, and macrophyte growth, why macroinvertebrates also were sampled. Waterfowl density was high (15–70 ind. of coot, Fulica atraL. ha−1), abundance of submerged plants was also high with a surface coverage of 70–80%, and benthivorous fish were present, mainly tench, (Tinca tincaL.) and carp, (Cyprinus carpioL.). Exclusion of waterfowl and large fish did not significantly affect the spring growth of pondweed; neither plants growing in situnor kept in pots. Removal of periphyton from the plants in the pots did not favour growth. The density of macroinvertebrates was not affected by the exclusion of waterfowl and large fish, but it was positively related to aboveground biomass of fennel pondweed. We suggest that even if waterfowl and large fish are in high densities, their effect on fennel pondweed spring growth in lakes with abundant submerged vegetation, such as Lake Mogan, is low.

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Correspondence to Håkan Sandsten.

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Sandsten, H., Beklioglu, M. & Ince, Ö. Effects of waterfowl, large fish and periphyton on the spring growth of Potamogeton pectinatus L. in Lake Mogan, Turkey. Hydrobiologia 537, 239–248 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-004-3077-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-004-3077-2

Keywords

  • coot
  • herbivory
  • submerged plants
  • alternative stable states