Periphyton communities play an important role in shallow lakes and are controlled by direct forces such as temperature, light, nutrients, and invertebrate grazing, but also indirectly by planktivorous fish predation. We performed a pan-European lake mesocosm experiment on periphyton colonization covering five countries along a north/south geographical/temperature gradient (Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Greece). Periphyton biomass on artificial polypropylene strips exposed at 50 cm water depth at low and high nutrient regimes (with mean total phosphorus concentration of 20 and 65 mu g L-1, respectively) was compared during mid-summer. No significant effect of nutrient loading on periphyton biomass was observed as nutrient concentrations in the mesocosms were generally above limiting values. Water temperature significantly enhanced summer periphyton biomass development. Additionally, direct and indirect top-down control of snails and fish emerged as a significant factor in periphyton biomass control.