Loch Craiglin cannot be considered as merely an isolated basin of Loch Sween. Its shallowness, the great growth of vegetation round the shore and the fluctuations in salinity make it atypical. On the more complete isolation of the loch with the making of the dam, these conditions led to a lack of circulation, a consequent development of hydrogen sulphide in the deep water and very high pH values near the surface. One could not therefore expect the plankton to be very similar to that in the outside loch (see, however, Marshall, 1947). Unfortunately there are no records of seasonal variation before fertilization was begun. In spite of these drawbacks Loch Craiglin was a convenient and manageable area for small-scale experiments on fertilization.
The experiments may be divided into two groups, those which were not followed up in detail and those in which the plankton and hydrographic results were followed from day to day. The former, made during the earlier stages of the work, are mainly described in the previous papers and led to the conclusion that the richness in phytoplankton of Loch Craiglin in 1943 was probably caused to a large extent by fertilization. Those of the second group, described above, were made to test special points and different fertilizers. Two experiments made during the summer of 1944 had apparently no effect on the phytoplankton but a third in which a very large excess of fertilizer (ten times the normal quantity) was added, gave a good increase after an initial lag. At that time the attached algae were abundant and their needs apparently had to be satisfied before any nutrients could be used by the phytoplankton.
The remaining experiments, which were therefore made during the winter, showed that commercial ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate and monoammonium phosphate could replace the sodium nitrate and superphosphate used hitherto. Two further experiments in the following spring using ammonium chloride and urea did not, however, prove effective. All the salts used had been found in laboratory tests by Miss F. A. Stanbury to be suitable for diatom growth, and the reason for the failure of these two in the loch is unknown.
The utilization of the nutrients was extremely rapid even in winter but it is probable that their disappearance is not entirely caused by the phytoplankton or bottom-living algae but partly by adsorption on the bottom mud or by suspended matter. On one occasion it may have been caused by a serious fall in loch level.
The zooplankton which during the first year of fertilizations was richer in Loch Craiglin than in the outside loch diminished in the second year and remained poor thereafter in spite of, or perhaps because of, the intensive fertilizations. The dense phytoplankton and other vegetation raised the pH at times to levels dangerous to animal life.