In order to disentangle the causes of variations in water chemistry among European shallow lakes, we performed standardised sampling programs in 86 lakes along a latitudinal gradient from southern Spain to northern Sweden. Lakes with an area of 0.1 to 27000 ha and mean depth of 0.4-5.6 m located in low to high altitudes were investigated within the EC project ECOFRAME 1-4 times during June-October 2000-2001. Several variables like conductivity, alkalinity, abundance of submerged plants, concentrations of suspended solids, total nitrogen and phosphorus were latitude-dependent decreasing from south to north. Secchi depth, concentrations of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, suspended solids, and chlorophyll a correlated strongly with the presumed quality classes of the lakes. We came to the conclusion that the variability of shallow lakes in Europe is still mostly dependent on natural differences. Variables connected to lake morphometry, seasonality, basin geology and climate explained altogether nearly half of the total variability of lakes. The trophic state factor, describing mostly the human influence on lakes, was the strongest single factor responsible for nearly a quarter of the total variability of the studied European lakes.
European shallow lakes
International Conference on Limnology of Shallow Lakes