African lakes range from small crater lakes to the largest and oldest tropical lakes in the world, and from cold and dilute alpine tarns to warm and hyper-saline soda lakes. The functioning of these tropical aquatic ecosystems is still rather poorly understood, because food-web structure and nutrient cycling are different than in north-temperate lakes, and because multi-annual environmental variability plays a more prominent role in long-term ecosystem dynamics. This research theme focuses on comparative study of the physical and chemical limnology of the great diversity of African lakes, and on the environmental regulation of their aquatic invertebrate communities. Besides their fundamental interest, these studies generate improved understanding of the causal links between the lakes’ modern functioning and the signals of past environmental conditions incorporated in their sedimentary record; and leads to the development of diverse groups of aquatic micro-crustacea (e.g., Cladocera, Ostracoda) and insect larvae (e.g., Diptera Chironomidae) as quantitative biological indicators of past changes in water chemistry, lake level, oxygen regime, and substrate availability in African lakes. These improved paleolimnological methods are then used in the reconstruction of the environmental history of African lakes in the context of climate change and human impact on tropical aquatic ecosystems (research theme 4).
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web