Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Limnology and Oceanography






John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Publication Date



Ecosystem, aquatic, metabolism, bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, metabolic theory

First Page


Last Page



Mehner et al. (2005) reported that fish feeding on terrestrial insects could be important for nutrient budgets and cycling in lakes. They studied bleak (Alburnus alburnus) that fed largely on terrestrial insects, and they suggested that this contributed 2.1% of the lake's nutrient budget and that the subsequent excretion by the fish was equivalent to 11% of epilimnetic dissolved phosphorus concentrations. They concluded that nutrients delivered to lakes via terrestrial insects and recycled by fish would be most important for small lakes because of the large perimeter-to-area ratio between donor and recipient habitats. Fish may have important impacts on the community structure of lakes (e.g., Brooks and Dodson 1965), and under some circumstances may influence internal nutrient cycling (e.g., Vanni et al. 1997). However, three aspects of Mehner et al's analysis may have led them to considerably overstate the influence of fish on nutrient budgets and terrestrial subsidies to lakes, regardless of the size of the system.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wurtsbaugh, Wayne A., (2007), Nutrient cycling and transport by fish and terrestrial insect nutrient subsidies to lakes, Limnology and Oceanography, 52, doi: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.6.2715., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley's version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.