Relationship of sediment influx to ostracode populations on the variably deforested Luiche and Mahale platform coasts of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania

Anna Gravina, Michael Soreghan, Michael T. Bogan, James Busch, Michael McGlue, Peter McIntyre, I. Kimirei, Andrew Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We investigated the hypothesis that ostracode populations are sensitive to variations in sediment discharge related to watershed differences at Lake Tanganyika. Many ostracode species are documented to be sensitive to high turbidity which increases during runoff from strong rainfall events and changes in ostracode populations can impact organisms higher in the food web. We compared surficial death assemblages of ostracodes around two sites with extensive shell beds, the highly deforested Luiche Platform area, heavily populated since the 20th Century, and the less deforested Mahale Platform area, with recent population increases, to understand the impacts of increasing sedimentation within and between sites. The study found that whereas the Mahale Platform area is less disturbed, the faunal differences between sites is not large. The data showed high species richness and abundance of ostracodes at 10–20 m depth at both sites, within shell bed zones, with no statistical difference in raw species richness between the sites. The Mahale Mountain area ostracode populations were however statistically more diverse (Shannon H) than at Luiche. We conducted a multi-response permutation procedure and found that the sites are statistically different, but with very small differences in species richness and ostracode abundance. Non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination of species assemblages shows that most samples overlap on both major axes. This study synthesized with ongoing research about shell bed communities in less disturbed regions of the lake will give insights into how conservation projects can be optimized to preserve the lake's benthic ecosystem from the effects of deforestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1220
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Ecology
  • Lake Tanganyika
  • Ostracodes
  • Shell beds
  • Watershed disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship of sediment influx to ostracode populations on the variably deforested Luiche and Mahale platform coasts of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this