Sub-consultant of the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project (GEF): Tanganyika special sediment studies, impact of increased sediment load on biodiversity


Lake Tanganyika is by far the oldest East African rift lake (Cohen et al. 1993). This lake harbours an extraordinary diversity of endemic organisms and its cichlid fauna is morphologically, ecologically and behaviorally the most diverse cichlid species flock of the African lakes (Fryer and Iles, 1972; Greenwood, 1984; Coulter 1991; Rossiter, 1995). As the result of rapidly increasing growth of the human population around the lake, its unique freshwater ecosystem is not only threatened by resource overexploitation such as the the depletion of its fish stocks by overfishing. In addition, Lake Tanganyika is also threatened by industrial and argicultural pollution (fertilizers, pesticides) and excessive amounts of sedimentation in the lakecaused by deforestation (Cohen 1992). As the result of these environmental changes, water quality may soon deteriorated to such a degree that threatens the survival of the unique endemic fish- and invertebrate species flocks of Lake Tanganyika, particularly along its extremely species rich rock bottom habitats. Recent studies have shown that our taxonomical knowledge of the Tanganyikan cichlid fauna is less advanced than often assumed (Snoeks et al. 1994). This is important since it is evident that in order to evaluate the effects of environmental changes on the species communities in the littoral habitats of Lake Tanganyika, a sound taxonomical knowledge on these complex species assemblages is required. However, to date, we still ignore many important facts about these species communities; for example, many species are only described on the basis of very few specimes - usually from only one or two localities, and it becomes more and more evident that an unknown number of have yet to be discovered and named. The pertinent lack of fundamental knowledge about this fauna raises critical questions such as (1)?how much do we really know about the biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika?? and (2) ?what measures should be taken to conserve the unique fauna of this lake??. It is our objective population level mtDNA and microsattelite studies on a small selection of rock-dwelling Tanganyikan cichlid fishes also yield relevant knowledge concerning the true nature of the biodiversity that should be the concern of anyone who wishes to conserve this unique but endangered fauna.


freshwater, pollution, ecology, limnology, ancient lakes, lentic, hydrobiology, taxonomy, molecular phylogeny, speciation, evolution, impact of increased sediment load, ichtyology, zoology, Ecology, Genetics, Habitat management, restoration, Systematics and taxonomy, Ponds and lakes , standing waters, 9. Inland Water Biodiversity, tropical Africa, E-Africa, Burundi, Tanzania, C-Africa, Congo-Kinshasa, Zaire, Zambia, lake Tanganyika, Malawi, Metazoa, Vertebrata, Pisces, Teleostei, Perciformes, Cichlidae


Burundi {Geographical scope}
Congo, Democratic Republic of {Geographical scope}
Tanzania {Geographical scope}
Zambia {Geographical scope}
Inland Waters {Habitat type}


Name Role Start End
Verheyen, Erik promotor


Name Role Start End
Systematics and biochemical taxonomy unknown


Reference Role
Verheyen E., Blust R., Van Rompaey & Decleir W., 1991. The eye lens proteins of Lake Tanganyika cichlids studied by isoelectric focusing. Annalen van het Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika (Zoologische Wetenschappen) 262: 29-32. author
Verheyen E., Blust R. & Decleir W., 1994. Metabolic rate, hypoxia tolerance and aquatic surface respiration of some lacustrine and riverine African cichlid fishes. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 107A:(2): 403-411. author
Verheyen E., 1994. Integration of molecular and traditional taxonomic concepts and procedures. Proceedings of the Workshop Speciation in Ancient lakes - Evolution, Biodiversity, Conservation, Mont-Rigi, Robertville, Belgium Advances in Limnology 44: 557-559. author
Snoeks J., Rüber L. & Verheyen E., 1994. The Tanganyika problem: Taxonomy and distribution patterns of its ichthyofauna. Proceedings of the First Workshop on Speciation in Ancient lakes - Evolution, Biodiversity, Conservation, Mont-Rigi, Robertville, Belgium, Advances in Limnology, 44: 357-374. author
Sturmbauer C., Verheyen E. & Meyer A., 1994. Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Lamprologini, the Major Substrate Spawning lineage of cichlid fishes from Lake Tanganyika, Eastern Africa. Molecular Biology and Evolution 11(4): 691-703. author
Verheyen E., Rüber L., Snoeks J. & Meyer A. (1996) Mitochondrial phylogeography of rock-dwelling cichlid fishes reflect historical lake level fluctuations in Lake Tanganyika. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London. 351 (1341): 797 - 805. author
Meyer A., Knowles L. & Verheyen E., 1996. Widespread geographic distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes in a Lake Tanganyika rock-dwelling cichlid fish. Molecular Ecology 5: 341 - 350. author
Sturmbauer C., Verheyen E., Rüber L. & Meyer A.,1997. Chapter 7 - Phylogeographic patterns in populations of cichlid fishes from rock habitats in Lake Tanganyika. In: Molecular Systematics of Fishes. (T. D. Kocher and C. Stepien, eds.); Academic Press: p. 93-107. author
Rüber L., Verheyen E., Sturmbauer C. & Meyer A., 1997. Lake level fluctuations and speciation in a rock-dwelling cichlid tribe endemic to Lake Tanganyika. In: Evolution on Islands. (P. Grant and B. Clarke eds.); Oxford University Press: p. 225-240. author
Snoeks J., Hanssens M. & Verheyen E., 1998. Over 100 years of biodiversity research on Lake Tanganyika fishes. DATZ Sonderheft p. 14-19 author
Hanssens M., Snoeks J. & Verheyen E., 1998. A morphometric revision of the genus Ophthalmotilapia (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from Lake Tanganyika (East Africa). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (in press) author
Verheyen E. & Rüber L., 1999. Conservation of the endemic cichlids of Lake Tanganyika: Implications from population level studies based upon mtDNA sequences'. Proceedings of the International Conference on Ancient Lakes, June 21-29, Lake Biwa Museum, Japan (in press) author
Irvine K., Donohue I., Verheyen E., Sinyinza R. and Taylor M. (2000). Special study on sediment discharge and its consequences. Pollution Control and other Measures to Protect Biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika (RAF/92/G32), Technical Report Number9. Taylor M.I., Rüber L. and Verheyen E. (2001). Microsattelites reveal high levels of population substructuring in the species-poor eretmodine cichmid lineage from Lake Tanganyika. Proceedings of the Royal Society London. B 268, 803-808 author

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:biodiv

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