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Effects of water temperature on summer periphyton biomass in shallow lakes: a pan-European mesocosm experiment

Mahdy, Aldoushy
Hilt, Sabine
Filiz, Nur
Beklioğlu, Meryem
Hejzlar, Josef
Ozkundakci, Deniz
Papastergiadou, Eva
Scharfenberger, Ulrike
Sorf, Michal
Stefanidis, Kostas
Tuvikene, Lea
Zingel, Priit
Sondergaard, Martin
Jeppesen, Erik
Adrian, Rita
Periphyton communities play an important role in shallow lakes and are controlled by direct forces such as temperature, light, nutrients, and invertebrate grazing, but also indirectly by planktivorous fish predation. We performed a pan-European lake mesocosm experiment on periphyton colonization covering five countries along a north/south geographical/temperature gradient (Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Greece). Periphyton biomass on artificial polypropylene strips exposed at 50 cm water depth at low and high nutrient regimes (with mean total phosphorus concentration of 20 and 65 mu g L-1, respectively) was compared during mid-summer. No significant effect of nutrient loading on periphyton biomass was observed as nutrient concentrations in the mesocosms were generally above limiting values. Water temperature significantly enhanced summer periphyton biomass development. Additionally, direct and indirect top-down control of snails and fish emerged as a significant factor in periphyton biomass control.