Long-term data on water temperature, phytoplankton biovolume, Bosmina and Daphnia abundance and the timing of the clear-water phase were compared and analysed with respect to the influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in two strongly contrasting lakes in central Europe. In small, shallow, hypertrophic Müggelsee, spring water temperatures and Daphnia abundance both increased more rapidly than in large, deep, meso/oligotrophic Lake Constance. Because of this, the clear-water phase commenced approximately three weeks earlier in Müggelsee than in Lake Constance. In Müggelsee, the phytoplankton biovolume during late winter/early spring was related to the NAO index. In Lake Constance, where phytoplankton growth was inhibited by intense downward mixing during all years studied, this was not the case. However, in both lakes, interannual variability in water temperature, in Daphnia spring population dynamics and in the timing of the clear-water phase, were all related to the interannual variability of the NAO index. The Daphnia spring population dynamics and the timing of the clear-water phase appear to be synchronized by the NAO despite large differences between the lakes in morphometry, trophic status and flushing and mixis regimes, and despite the great distance between the lakes (∼700 km). This suggests that a great variety of lakes in central Europe may possibly have exhibited similar interannual variability during the last 20 years.
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