Climate variability as recorded in lake Tanganyika

Project: Research

Project Details


Stratification of water of various densities and stability of tropical lakes vary in a large extent according to the high temperature of water (Lewis, 1996). Accordingly, the hydrodynamic, which is highly dependent of the climate conditions, largely control the nutrient availability in the water column, thus affecting phytoplankton and the whole food web productivity. During El Niño, air temperature is significantly higher in the inter-tropical zone (Bradley et al, 1987), as observed in lake Tanganyika (Plisnier, 1998). This influences the stability of the lake, nutrient distribution and phytoplankton communities. Diatoms are good indicators of environmental variations and climate changes for periods of thousands of years (Gasse et al., 1995). Detailed information about the instrumental period can be obtained through mollusc shelves geochemistry.
In anoxic water of a deep lake like lake Tanganyika, laminated sediments are well preserved and represent valuable indicators of climate variability. It is nevertheless essential to accurately interpretate the origin of those variations. This need to be based on frequent measurement series of environmental variables, ideally integrated in a descriptive and interpretative model. We will carry out such a study of the present ecological and climate conditions of lake Tanganyika, in order to develop a model (ECO-HYDRO). This model would then be used as a tool for interpretation of signals observed in lake sediments.
Effective start/end date1/01/0231/10/05


  • African great lakes
  • Tanganyika
  • climate change
  • plankton
  • limnology


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