Pathways of increased water clarity after fish removal from Ventura Marsh; a shallow, eutrophic wetland

Laura J. Schrage, John A. Downing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


We investigated the pathways by which water clarity increases following fish removal by evaluating the effects of a benthivorous fish reduction in a large, shallow, eutrophic, wetland in a predominately agricultural watershed in Iowa, U.S.A. Phytoplankton was phosphorus limited prior to manipulation. After a substantial fish removal was obtained, water clarity increased as a result of decreased suspended sediment and phytoplankton biomass. Trophic cascading, mitigated by release from fish predation and decreased physical interference from suspended sediments, appears to determine water clarity. Inorganic suspended solids declined immediately after fish were removed but the biomass of Daphnia and Ceriodaphnia did not increase until a few weeks after fish removal. High grazing by zooplankton likely reduced phytoplankton biomass during the height of the clear-water phase. Phytoplankton appeared to be limited by zooplankton grazing for approximately two months before reverting to bottom-up control. An increase in suspended sediment and/or increased predation pressure on zooplankton, due to the return of juvenile carp, appears to account for the decline of larger-bodied zooplankters and the switch back to bottom-up control. Macrophyte diversity and density increased substantially after the initiation of the clear-water phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-231
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomanipulation
  • Carp
  • Eutrophication
  • Fish
  • Macrophytes
  • Phosphorus
  • Water clarity
  • Wetland


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathways of increased water clarity after fish removal from Ventura Marsh; a shallow, eutrophic wetland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this