• fish;
  • food-web interactions;
  • mesocosm experiments;
  • nutrients;
  • phytoplankton composition


1. The impacts of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and planktivorous fish on phytoplankton composition and biomass were studied in six shallow, macrophyte-dominated lakes across Europe using mesocosm experiments.

2. Phytoplankton biomass was more influenced by nutrients than by densities of planktivorous fish. Nutrient addition resulted in increased algal biomass at all locations. In some experiments, a decrease was noted at the highest nutrient loadings, corresponding to added concentrations of 1 mg L−1 P and 10 mg L−1 N.

3. Chlorophyll a was a more precise parameter to quantify phytoplankton biomass than algal biovolume, with lower within-treatment variability.

4. Higher densities of planktivorous fish shifted phytoplankton composition toward smaller algae (GALD < 50 μm). High nutrient loadings selected in favour of chlorophytes and cyanobacteria, while biovolumes of diatoms and dinophytes decreased. High temperatures also may increase the contribution of cyanobacteria to total phytoplankton biovolume in shallow lakes.