Changes of phytoplankton communities in Lakes Naivasha and Oloidien, examples of degradation and salinization of lakes in the Kenyan Rift Valley
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Increasing degradation of the water quality, caused by overuse and salinization, leads to considerable changes of the phytoplankton composition in Kenyan Rift Valley lakes. Exemplarily, the phytoplankton communities and biomasses of deteriorating freshwater Lake Naivasha and salinizing Lake Oloidien were studied between 2001 and 2005, accompanied by physico-chemical measurements (pH, total phosphorus and nitrogen, alkalinity, conductivity). Over the last three decades, the ecology of these two water basins has been subjected to dramatic changes, caused by excessive use of water and catchment area by man. In L. Naivasha a shift in the dominance of coccoid cyanobacteria towards dominance of Chlorophyceae (Botryococcus terribilis) was observed. Lake Oloidien exhibited a shift in the dominance of coccoid Chlorophyceae towards dominance of cyanobacteria (Arthrospira fusiformis, Anabaenopsis elenkinii). Phytoplankton findings and chemical data demonstrate that L. Naivasha has developed towards a eutrophic freshwater lake while L. Oloidien has progressed towards a hypereutrophic alkaline-saline lake.
KeywordsLake Naivasha Lake Oloidien Eutrophication Salinization
The authors thank the authorities of the Republic of Kenya for providing research permission (No. MOEST 13/001/31 C90). We are grateful to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for financial support (grant BIOLOG 01LC0001).
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