Rapid response of macroinvertebrates to drainage management of shallow connected lakes.

Published online
03 May 2006
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Meutter, F. van de & Stoks, R. & Meester, L. de
Contact email(s)

Publication language


Shallow lakes throughout the world are subject to drainage, either for fish harvesting or lake restoration. Lake drainage of fish lakes is known to improve macrophyte and zooplankton diversity, but the effect on the macroinvertebrate community is poorly known. In the present study, we investigated temporal trends in the macroinvertebrate community following drainage of six shallow connected lakes. Diversity increased for all macroinvertebrates (family level). Recolonization of the lakes occurred within the first year after the drainage and was supplemented with a set of species that were previously rare or did not occur in the lakes. Changes in the abiotic conditions of the lakes were small and transient, except for the decline in fish. The rapid recolonization by the species occurring before drainage is attributed to the high connectivity of our system. The appearance of supplementary species may relate to lowered fish predation, suggesting that fish were a dominant factor in shaping the communities. Synthesis and applications. Lake drainage has a positive effect on the diversity and richness of macroinvertebrates in shallow connected lakes. This positive effect may be due to a decline in fish predation following lake drainage in combination with a high rate of recolonization among others via connections to non-drained lakes. Lake drainage, therefore, is probably the most cost-effective lake restoration tool in shallow connected lakes. Other restoration tools may be preferable in isolated lakes where recolonization is constrained.

Key words