Long-term trends in Loch Leven invertebrate communities

Gunn, I.D.M; O'Hare, M.T.; Maitland, P.S.; May, L.. 2012 Long-term trends in Loch Leven invertebrate communities. Hydrobiologia, 681 (1). 59-72.

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Detailed studies of the macroinvertebrate benthos and zooplankton communities in Loch Leven, the largest shallow lowland lake in Scotland, UK, were carried out from 1966 to 1973 as part of the International Biological Programme (IBP). The results revealed a reduction in species diversity that was attributed to increasing eutrophication. This work provides a baseline against which the response of the invertebrate communities to subsequent changes in management can be assessed. This article compares macroinvertebrate benthos and zooplankton data from the IBP study with the post-IBP era during which changes at Loch Leven included a 60% reduction in the phosphorus input from external sources and variations in fish stocking rates. Only in recent years has there been evidence of ecological recovery by the invertebrate communities: the number of macroinvertebrate and zooplankton taxa has increased (including taxa considered to be sensitive to nutrient enrichment) and invertebrate abundances have declined. These changes appear to reflect the improvements in water quality and habitat conditions at Loch Leven that have occurred as a result of the recent reduction in nutrient loads, albeit with a substantial delay before any ecological response could be detected. This time lag in recovery has important implications for assessing improvements in the ecological status of other lake systems, as is required by the EU Water Framework Directive

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0018-8158
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The attached document is the author’s final manuscript version of the journal article, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer review process. Some differences between this and the publisher’s version remain. You are advised to consult the publisher’s version if you wish to cite from this article. The final publication is available at
Additional Keywords: eutrophication, Eenvironmental Change Network, biomonitoring, Lake, benthos, zooplankton, recovery
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 21 Dec 2011 12:18 +0 (UTC)

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