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To assess nutritional consequences associated with lake oligotrophication for aquatic consumers, we analyzed the elemental and biochemical composition of natural seston and concomitantly conducted laboratory growth experiments in which the freshwater key herbivore Daphnia was raised on natural seston of the nowadays (2008) oligotrophic Lake Constance throughout an annual cycle. Food quality mediated constraints on Daphnia performance were assessed by comparing somatic growth rates with seston characteristics (multiple regression analysis) and by manipulating the elemental and biochemical composition of natural seston experimentally (nutrient supplementation). Results were compared to similar experiments carried out previously (1997) during a mesotrophic phase of the lake. In the oligotrophic phase, particulate carbon and phosphorus concentrations were lower, fatty acid concentrations were higher, and the taxonomic composition of phytoplankton was less diverse, with a more diatom- and cryptophytes-dominated community, compared to the previous mesotrophic phase. Multiple regression analysis indicated a shift from a simultaneous limitation by food quantity (in terms of carbon) and quality (i.e. α-linolenic acid) during the mesotrophic phase to a complex multiple nutrient limitation mediated by food quantity, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids in the following oligotrophic phase. The concomitant supplementation experiments also revealed seasonal changes in multiple resource limitations, i.e. the prevalent limitation by food quantity was accompanied by a simultaneous limitation by either phosphorus or omega-3 fatty acids, and thus confirmed and complemented the multiple regression approach. Our results indicate that seasonal and annual changes in nutrient availabilities can create complex co-limitation scenarios consumers have to cope with, which consequently may also affect the efficiency of energy transfer in food webs.