Alternative Stable States in Shallow Lakes: What Causes a Shift?

  • Irmgard Blindow
  • Anders Hargeby
  • Gunnar Andersson
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 131)


Lake T&#00E5;kern and Lake Krankesjön, two shallow, moderately eutrophic, calcium-rich lakes in southern Sweden have shifted between turbid and clearwater states several times during the past decades (Fig. 26.1). Lake Krankesjön shifted from a clearwater state with abundant submerged vegetation to a turbid state with sparse vegetation during the mid-1970s (Karlsson et al., 1976) and back to a clearwater state during 1985. Today, the lake is in the clearwater state, with abundant submerged vegetation dominated by Charophyta (Blindow et al., 1993; Fig. 26.2). Both shifts coincided with deviations from the average water level. During the mid-1970s, the water level during spring and summer was about 15 cm higher than average, whereas it was about 10 cm lower than average during 1983-1985 (Blindow, 1992).


Lawson Charophyta 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blindow, I. Long-and short-term dynamics of submerged macrophytes in two shallow eutrophic lakes. Freshwat. Biol. 28: 15–27; 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blindow, I.; Andersson, G.; Hargeby, A.; Johansson, S. Long-term pattern of alternative stable states in two shallow eutrophic lakes. Freshwat. Biol. 30: 159–167; 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ekstam, U. Förändringar av fågelfauna och miljö i och vid Tåkern 1850-1974 (Changes of the avifauna and the nature and environment of Lake Tåkern in 1850-1974). Vår Fågelvärld 34: 268–282 (in Swedish with English summary); 1975.Google Scholar
  4. Karlsson, J.; Lindgren, A.; Rudebeck, G. Drastiska förändringar i vegetation och fågelfauna i Krankesjön och Björkesåkrasjön 1973-1976 (Drastic changes in vegetation and bird fauna in Lake Krankesjön and Lake Björkesakrasjön, South Sweden, in 1973-1976). Anser 15: 165–184 (in Swedish with English summary); 1976.Google Scholar
  5. Meijer, M.-L.; van Nes, E.H.; Lammens, E.H.R.R.; Gulati, R.D.; Grimm, M.P.; Backx, J.; Hollebeek, P.; Blaauw, E.M.; Breukelaar, A.W. The consequences of a drastic fish stock reduction in the large and shallow Lake Wolderwijd, The Netherlands. Can we understand what happened? Hydrobiologia 275/276: 31–42; 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mitchell, S.F. Primary production in a shallow eutrophic lake dominated alternately by phytoplankton and by submerged macrophytes. Aquat. Bot. 33: 101–110; 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mitchell, S.F.; Hamilton, D.P.; MacGibbon, W.S.; Nayar, P.K.B.; Reynolds, R.N. Interrelations between phytoplankton, submerged macrophytes, black swans (Cygnus atratus) and Zooplankton in a shallow New Zealand lake. Int. Rev. Ges. Hydrobiol. 73: 145–170; 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Scheffer, M.; Hosper, S.H.; Meijer, M.-L.; Moss, B.; Jeppesen, E. Alternative equilibria in shallow lakes. Trends Ecol. Evol. 8: 275–279; 1993.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Scheffer, M.; van den Berg, M.; Breukelaar, A.; Breukers, C; Coops, H.; Doef, R.; Meijer, M.-L. Vegetated areas with clear water in turbid shallow lakes. Aquat. Bot. 49: 193–196; 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. van Donk, E.; Grimm, M.P.; Gulati, R.D.; Klein Breteler, J.P.G. Whole-lake food web manipulation as a means to study community interactions in a small ecosystem. Hydrobiologia 200/201: 275–291; 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irmgard Blindow
  • Anders Hargeby
  • Gunnar Andersson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations