About This Research
In Africa, we are looking at interactions between attached algae and herbivorous fish in Lake Tanganyika. The littoral zone of Lake Tanganyika hosts a phenomenal diversity of fish and invertebrates. The benthic algae that support this diversity are incredibly productive, but the water itself is extremely nutrient poor. How can such high productivity and diversity persist in the face of apparent extreme nutrient scarcity? We are using field and lab experiments to test whether grazing fish increase nutrient turnover and nutrient retention in the littoral zone, and consequently whether fish increase the overall productivity of the littoral zone. This work is conducted in collaboration with the Nyanza project, an international, interdisciplinary NSF REU program on east African lakes spearheaded by the University of Arizona.