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Warming Lakes: Climate Change Threatens the Ecological Stability of Lake Tanganyika

Photo: Fishing village on Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
A fishing village on Lake Tanganyika. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Tropical lakes in East Africa don’t grab headlines the way polar bears do, but climate change is having an effect on them, too. Although the changes are not as visible as melting polar ice caps, they are no less real.

As in many lakes around the world, water temperature is on the rise in Lake Tanganyika. This and other climate-related factors are causing subtle but significant changes that threaten the ecological stability of the lake and the livelihoods of people who depend on it.

With air temperatures across tropical Africa expected to rise as much as 2–5 degrees Celsius (3.5–9 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next 50-100 years, warming lake trends are also expected to continue. The changes underway serve as early warning signs, not just for the lake region, but perhaps, for the planet as a whole.

Considered one of the African Great Lakes, Tanganyika is the world’s second largest lake (by volume) and second deepest, after Russia’s Lake Baikal. It contains 17 percent of the world’s surface freshwater – almost as much water as all five of the North American Great Lakes combined. At more than 10 million years old, Tanganyika is among an elite group of only 20 or so ancient lakes in the world.

Photo: Lake Tanganyika from space. Credit: NASA.
Lake Tanganyika as seen from space. Source: NASA.

Lake Tanganyika also ranks in the top tier of some 250 lakes found to have globally significant freshwater biodiversity.

Four countries border the lake: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Tanzania, and Zambia. This poses a major challenge for lake conservation and management efforts.

About 10 million people live in the lake’s drainage basin, and the population is growing rapidly (by a rate of 2.5 percent per year), according to a 2006 Brief about the lake. In the nearshore areas of the lake, the rate of growth is nearly double the national average at 4 percent per year.

Children on beach, Lake Tanganyika. Photo: Bugamba, Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
The population growth in nearshore areas around Lake Tanganyika is nearly double the national average. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

For the most part, the lake has relatively high quality water, except in a few areas where urban and industrial runoff has affected the lake. This is in part due to the lake’s enormous volume, which acts as a buffer to problems that plague some of the other African Great Lakes, such as overfishing and invasive weed growth on Lake Victoria.

Over-exploitation of the fishery and siltation caused by erosion from deforested areas are considered the main threats to the health of the lake. With increased population pressure, the ongoing problem of siltation, and now climate change added to the mix, fish stocks, biodiversity, and water quality are expected to decline.

Given the importance of Lake Tanganyika, I wondered why we haven’t heard more about the effects on lakes such as this in the climate change dialogue. To learn more, I spoke with two scientists who conduct research on the lake.

Photo: Jakobson's Beach, Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Lake Tanganyika still has relatively high water quality. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

The Effects of Climate Change

Catherine M. O’Reilly, an assistant professor of geology at Illinois State University, talked with me last fall at a meeting of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON).

O’Reilly began studying the lake as part of a team looking at the impacts of deforestation in the Tanganyika watershed, where an astounding 100 percent of the native vegetation has been cleared in the northern portion of the watershed. It might not seem obvious, but if you’re interested in learning more about historical land use changes in the lake’s watershed or about the biological communities that have lived in the lake, a good place to look is in the mud at the bottom of the lake.

Deforestation near Bugamba, Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Siltation caused by erosion from deforestation is another main threat to Lake Tanganyika. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

The particles in the lake and those washing into it, through rivers, streams, shoreline erosion, and even pollution discharges, eventually settle out to the bottom along with the decomposed remains of aquatic organisms. In a lake as deep as Tanganyika, these particles are essentially locked away in layers of mud. The bottom sediments are like a secure vault, storing the ecological history of the lake and its surrounding watershed. In the case of Lake Tanganyika, this process has been occurring for millions of years, making it a treasure trove of information for scientists to study trends, such as the effects of climate change.

By examining sediment cores taken from the lake’s depths, O’Reilly noticed a chemical signal (the carbon isotope signal) that didn’t seem to make sense. Upon further examination, she discovered that this signal suggested that the lake responded to climate warming. Interestingly enough, the 2003 results of her team’s research were published in Nature simultaneously with another team’s results (Verburg et al.) in Science. They had independently reached the same conclusions using slightly different methods.

Photo: Sediment core from Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Researchers can unlock the history of the lake by studying sediment cores. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Lake Tanganyika is Warming

O’Reilly found that water temperatures in Lake Tanganyika have warmed 0.1 degrees Celsius (0.18 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade or 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) over for the past 100 years. Not only is this affecting the ecological stability of the lake, it has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in biological productivity in the lake.

Scientists are concerned about how continued warming will affect fish stocks and the lake’s rich biodiversity. Reduced fish catches would impact millions of people living in the lake region, many whom live on less than a dollar a day and depend on the lake for basic human needs – the protein from fish and clean water to drink.

More recent global assessments show that the rate of warming in Lake Tanganyika is consistent with other lakes around the world. Although it is not warming as rapidly as some lakes in the northern hemisphere, O’Reilly told me that even small changes in lake temperature can cause major disruptions in the lake’s ecological stability.

Photo: Predator fish, Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
These larger predator fish feed on the sardines (locally called ‘dagaa’) in the lake. A lake temperature change of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in biological productivity in the lake.
Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

An Ancient Lake with Globally Significant Biodiversity

Peter McIntyre, an aquatic ecology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology, spoke with me about why scientists are so concerned about the changing dynamics in Lake Tanganyika. His research focuses on conserving both biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics, and he specializes in freshwater fish.

The lake was formed slowly over millions of years as the East African plate separated from the main African plate, creating a massive rift valley that continues to expand today (though very slowly), McIntyre explained. The lake now sits at the headwaters of the mighty Congo River, which carries the water from the west side of Lake Tanganyika on a journey nearly 3,000 miles (4,700 km) across the African continent to the Atlantic Ocean.

“The emergence of a massive lake in the Upper Congo basin provided a perfect opportunity for all kinds of river animals to diversify into hundreds and hundreds of species endemic to the lake,” says McIntyre. Large numbers of fish, snails, and tiny crustaceans (known as ostracods) flourished. Smaller evolutionary radiations of crabs, shrimp, and leaches also occurred, resulting in a lake with some of the greatest freshwater biological diversity on the planet. There is even an endemic sub-species of aquatic cobra, McIntyre told me.

Photo: Fish in Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
The clear water of Lake Tanganyika supports some of the greatest freshwater biodiversity on the planet.
Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Surface Water Warming More Rapidly Than Its Depths

The lake is remarkable in other ways, not the least of which is its extreme depth. At almost a mile deep (1.472 km), it is among a special class of lakes that remains permanently stratified. The warmer surface waters never mix completely with the cooler water at depth. Although partial mixing events occur from time to time, these are relatively short-lived.

“Because of the temperature differences, the bottom water is effectively isolated from the surface water,” said McIntyre. He describes the temperature boundary in the lake, typically at a depth of 60 or 70 meters, as acting like a drain for nutrients and energy from the surface. When these materials reach the oxygen-starved bottom of the lake, the difference in temperature between the upper and lower layers acts as a barrier – like oil on water – that inhibits the mixing that could replenish nutrients in brightly-lit surface waters.

Boat on Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
The lake’s surface waters never mix completely with the deeper water. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Lake Tanganyika happens to have one of the longest temperature records of any lake in the world. A century ago, scientists began measuring temperature profiles to a depth of 1,000 meters using insolated bottles and specialized thermometers. Temperature studies were also conducted in the 1920s, 1940s, 1970s, and then more frequently in the 2000s. Although a sparse record, O’Reilly says that it paints a clear picture.

Nowadays, the technology has greatly advanced. Researchers use fancy instruments to precisely measure the temperature change from the surface all the way to the bottom of the lake. For the past four years, McIntyre and his colleagues have continued to collect temperature profiles of the lake.

From these records, scientists are finding that Lake Tanganyika’s surface waters are warming more rapidly than its depths. This has the effect of creating an even sharper gradient between the upper and lower layers of the lake, and thus creating an even greater barrier to wind-induced mixing.

Photo: Sampling on Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Lake Tanganyika’s surface waters are warming more rapidly than its depths. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Small Changes in Temperature Can Have Big Impacts on Tropical Lakes

From the standpoint of lake physics, it turns out that warm, tropical lakes are more sensitive to changes in temperature than lakes in cooler climates. O’Reilly explained that the warmer the water is, the more energy is required to mix it. In a typical northern lake that cools in the fall and winter, the energy from wind is enough to mix the lake. “The amount of energy required to maintain mixing, which is very important for circulating nutrients, is huge in Lake Tanganyika,” she says.

Finding the ideal nutrient concentrations in a lake is a delicate balancing act. With too little, the lake cannot support aquatic life. With too much, the lake becomes overly productive and could develop harmful algae blooms and excessive weed growth. Another unique feature about Lake Tanganyika is that its surface waters are low in nutrients yet support an incredibly productive fishery. This is possible because of an occasional upwelling of nutrient rich water from the bottom of the lake.

McIntyre describes the upwelling as being like a small burp of deep water into the surface. “The burps provide a critical annual injection of nutrients to the nearshore area where most of the lake’s species are found,” he said, “and these species are very good at storing the nutrients until the next upwelling occurs.” He says that researchers are already seeing signs that the amount of mixing has decreased. And help is unlikely to come from the winds; O’Reilly has gathered evidence of decreasing winds in the region.

Photo: Sampling along the shoreline in Bugamba. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
The greatest biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika is found in the nearshore area. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Is the Lake Approaching a Tipping Point?

McIntyre worries that a reduction in the magnitude and frequency of upwelling events caused by climate-related changes could undercut the stability of the entire ecosystem. “The lake’s incredible biodiversity depends on the high productivity fueled by the annual upwelling of nutrients,” he says. If that aspect of the lake’s annual cycle is lost, the whole system could cross a ‘tipping point’ where the changes become permanent.

O’Reilly expressed grave concerns, too. When analyzing the data, she noticed that the lake has not recovered as well as it used to from more extreme conditions, such as an El Niño event. Rather than returning to its pre-El Niño state, the lake recovers only slightly. “This has the effect of stepping up stairs toward becoming a different kind of lake,” she explains, “and at some point Lake Tanganyika will be forever changed.”

Both O’Reilly and McIntyre are members of the Global Lake Temperature Collaboration. They say more research is needed to determine how the lake’s resilience is being affected and whether it will recover from these step-like changes. Although the science is rapidly developing, they think it will be several years before researchers have the capability, assuming that needed data are available, of predicting how close the lake is to reaching a critical “tipping point.”

For the people living on inland lakes, this sounds like the equivalent of the apocalyptic scenarios for sea level rise and more intense storms we’ve all heard about and begun to see in coastal regions. And yet many sources of funding for research and conservation programs on Lake Tanganyika have fallen off in recent years.

Photo: Kasekera watershed, Lake Tanganyika. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Scientists are concerned that Lake Tanganyika is nearing a ‘tipping point’ where changes become permanent. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

What the Future Holds

By studying Lake Tanganyika, not only do scientists learn more about how climate change is affecting one of the world’s largest, deepest, and oldest lakes, their interdisciplinary research provides tremendous insight into how warming trends affect the entire planet, from the tiniest microscopic organisms and schools of colorful fish to the top of the food chain: we humans ourselves.

The four riparian nations surrounding Lake Tanganyika are committed to taking action, but they sorely lack financial resources to get much done. Government representatives met in February 2012 under the auspices of the Convention on the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika and renewed their commitment to an updated Strategic Action Programme. They also pledged to embark on an international fundraising campaign to secure funds for the conservation and management of the lake’s rich natural resources.

Photo: Dried sardines for sale in the market. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Dried sardines for sale in a market on Lake Tanganyika. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Recognizing the impacts of a warming climate, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) launched a project in 2012 with other local and international partners, which includes establishing effective climate change adaptation strategies and actions in the Lake Tanganyika region. The Tuungane (Kiswahili for “let’s unite”) project uses a participatory approach and is based “on the premise that the most effective way to combat climate change is to empower the local communities to sustainably manage their own resources.”

According to Colin Apse, a senior freshwater adviser at TNC, most of these actions do not involve radical departures from actions people are already taking to improve their livelihoods and economies and to protect the ecosystems they depend on. He says there is a wide range of adaptation strategies available, such as implementing village land use plans, improving fisheries practices, and limiting further habitat destruction. Apse is hopeful that these and other strategies can help the people living around Lake Tanganyika prepare for a rapidly changing future.

Photo: Lake Tanganyika fisherman. Credit: Catherine O'Reilly.
Lake Tanganyika fish serve as a major source of protein for millions of people living around the lake. Photo by Catherine O’Reilly.

Unlike retreating glaciers, there is actually something that can be done to lessen the impacts of climate change in lake regions. By recognizing climate change as a major factor, not only for how it affects the health of the lake but the welfare of the people living around it, researchers and conservationists working on Lake Tanganyika are already leading the way forward.

Lisa Borre is a lake conservationist, freelance writer, and avid sailor based in Annapolis, Maryland. With her husband, she co-founded LakeNet, a world lakes network, and co-wrote a sailing guide called “The Black Sea” based on their voyage around the sea in 2010. She is a native of the Great Lakes region and served as coordinator of the Lake Champlain Basin Program in the 1990s.


  1. peter
    August 28, 2015, 9:00 am

    i want to know the effect temperature variations on the catches of of Lates stappersii on Lake Tanganyika.

    • Lisa Borre
      September 1, 2015, 4:37 pm

      Peter, I contacted two experts about your question. Dr. Peter McIntyre says that his colleague Catherine O’Reilly and others have suggested that catches have fallen due to warming (which sets off a cascade of physical and chemical changes that depress primary productivity), and most in the scientific community agree. He said, “There is some controversy about whether the fishery data are good enough to rigorously infer causes of declines, and perhaps even whether declines are real. Aside from climate change, shifts in gear and uneven reporting effort are other candidate explanations for apparent changes in catch over the last few decades. Sadly, there is almost no recent data that is publicly available, but in the field the fishermen are certainly saying that catches have become very poor in recent years.”

      Dr. Catherine O’Reilly added that several studies have found connections between the hydrodynamics of the lake and catches of Lates stappersii and other pelagic fish. “There are 2-3 papers showing these relationships on seasonal time scales. The findings in these studies support the idea that any long-term changes in hydrodynamics (mixing) would have negative consequences for fish catches,” she said. O’Reilly and her colleagues are now working on a new project that will hopefully help them distinguish between any impacts of over fishing vs. climate change.

    December 26, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Hi Lisa, We have started a small conservation effort on the Zambian shore to try and save Nsumbu National Park – both terrestrial and aquatic. Look at conservationlaketanganyika.org.
    We want to do a swim from Bujumbura to Mpulungu to raise awareness for the Lake. We have been doing small swims on our shore but we want to swim the whole length of the Lake in a team of 8 swimmers in relay format. We appreciate any support or advise.

  3. Zhang Lu
    Nanjing, China, NIGLAS
    November 6, 2013, 1:47 pm

    Thanks Lisa. This is a great new for me about L. Tanganyika.

  4. jack greene
    smithfield, utah
    May 19, 2013, 3:20 am

    Lisa, thanks so much for this excellent article and the photos from various sources! I am working as a consultant for a new, upper level high school in the village of Kiganza, 10 miles north of Kigoma. We can see Lake Tanganyika from our campus about 4 miles in from its shore and same distance from Gombe Stream N.P. I work with students, teachers, and curriculum. You can see us at http://www.goseso.org (Gombe School of Environment and Society). The founder and director, Dr. Yared Fabusa, is from this village and recieved his doctorate from Utah State University, where I met him 7 years ago, thus my connection. I also serve on the goseso USA board. As a environmental science teacher and A.P. workshop consultant for the College Board, I have a strong background in environmental science which I promote, along with Yared, here at our new high school. I will be using your article for our curriculum as it has much to offer on our region and strong on science. If there is any way my students and faculty here could connect, either virtually, or otherwise, with your scientists, perhaps we could help with some of the monitoring activity. We do water quality monitoring on the Mungonya River which borders our 500 acre campus, but would love to expand beyond this to document climate change- miombo forest response, etc. Thanks again for this outstanding piece of work!

    • Lisa Borre
      May 19, 2013, 11:47 am

      Thanks for your comments, Jack. I have forwarded the information about your school to the scientists mentioned in this post.

  5. neiti
    port louis cassis
    March 31, 2013, 1:39 am

    Hello lisa. Today has been a very tragic one in mauritius. I wanted to have your point of view upon this sudden climatic change.

  6. Anny
    March 26, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that we all have a little blame climate change and its consequences and guilt even more politicians who do not slow down.


  7. Julia Kahrl
    Arrowsic, Maine, USA
    March 22, 2013, 4:13 pm

    I visited the Tuungane project in 2012. It should be noted that the project focuses not only on Lake Tanganyika but also on the health and welfare of the people on the land, whose practices will affect the lake. Pathfinder International and the Frankfurt Zoological Society are partners with The Nature Conservancy. Pathfinder works to give the local people access to family planning and reproductive health services so that the women and their families can be healthier, and have the number of children whom they can feed. With good health, the people, the women especially, can participate more fully in the stewardship of their region.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 23, 2013, 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Julia, for the additional details about the Tuungane project.

  8. Martin van der Knaap
    Bujumbura, Burundi
    March 15, 2013, 10:37 am

    Hi Lisa,
    We intend to determine trends in (fish) biomass in relation to exploitation rate and climatic conditions and to increase the link between the impact of climate change and the rational exploitation of the fisheries resources, leading to a synthesis of available information on fish stocks and climate data. Of course it is assumed that the impact of climate change on fisheries on the Great Lakes remains on the research and management agendas. Some of the surveillance tools could be used as an early warning system, but still funding requires to be secured.
    As the LTA is a multi-disciplinary organization the environmental department will study the consequences of climate change in further detail.
    We hope to investigate the ”upwelling” phenomenon using remotely sensed information in order to study the direct impact of changes in wind patterns on fish abundance and distribution.

  9. Martin van der Knaap
    Bujumbura, Burundi
    March 14, 2013, 8:54 am

    Let me chip in some information on the fisheries of Lake Tanganyika. The Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA) and its partners carried out a so-called frame survey on Lake Tanganyika in 2011, which is in fact an inventory of the fishery at a certain point in time, describing the numbers of fishermen, canoes, fishing gears, women processors, fisheries infrastructure, etc. It appeared that since 1995 the total numbers of fishermen and canoes doubled, to roughly 95,000 and 30,000 respectively. This is a direct consequence of the open-access strategy, anybody can go out on the lake to fish. The absence of a strict licensing system in the four countries has led to the use of many inappropriate if not illegal fishing gears, exploiting juvenile fish, not only of the bottom-linked fish (demersals) but also of the open-water fish (pelagics). In the northern part of the lake fish harvests have reduced considerably, resulting in increased fishing effort in the southern waters of the lake. The total fish harvest in the last decade of the previous millennium fluctuated between 160 and 200 thousand tonnes annually. Cautious estimates at present do not exceed 110 thousand tonnes. In other words with double the number of fishermen only half to two/thirds of the potential is being produced. In monetary terms this means a figure between 65 and 105 million US dollars at the first point of sale that is lost. It should be noted that too high a percentage of juvenile fish are harvested, and that, if the management measures could be implemented, these numbers of fish would fetch a much higher price after a few months extra growth (as larger mesh tend to catch larger fish). How can this be achieved? The LTA undertook an interesting exercise to harmonize the fisheries management measures, policies and legislations in the four countries. Also, LTA is in the process of starting up a patrol system, both on land and on the lake. All these measures would, of course, be useless if the fishing communities would not collaborate, therefore the existing co-management mechanisms in place in the four countries are being strengthened. The LTA with financial assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and co-financing by the Governments and Technical Assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is currently finalizing the Framework Fisheries Management Plan for Lake Tanganyika so that the fish harvest and food security can be improved, just by making better use of what the lake is offering. FOR THE SAKE OF THE LAKE.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 14, 2013, 9:28 am

      Martin, thank you for the additional information about fisheries management in the lake. It is especially valuable to have someone with your experience (Chief Technical Advisor on fisheries for the LTA) join in on this dialogue about Tanganyika. Given the topic of this post, I’d be interested to learn what if any considerations are being given to warming lake temperatures and the effects this is having on the lake in the fisheries management plan?

  10. System Monitoring
    March 14, 2013, 7:26 am

    Hi Lisa
    Thank you so much for posting such an insightful information about warming of lakes. I am a student and love to read about environmental concerns. All of us who are blessed to have a wholesome life style with all the amenities, must be thoughtful about the one’s who are not so lucky. Because it’s them, who are first to be affected by any of the dire environmental issues which are the outcomes of our deeds.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 14, 2013, 9:31 am

      Thanks for reading and for your comments, Tina!

  11. Saskia Marijnissen
    Bujumbura, Burundi
    March 13, 2013, 11:43 am

    As also pointed out by Colin, radical changes will need to take place in the way people around the lake have been using their resources in the past. With the rapidly increasing human populations, traditional ways of land use such as slash & burn agriculture and unlimited fishing are no longer sustainable. The majority of the problems – and also the solutions – in the lake basin occur on land. This was already recognised in the 1990’s when the Global Environment Facility funded a large project, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that resulted in the first Strategic Action Programme (SAP). Part of the work done by Catherine was financed by this project.
    The first UNDP-supported, GEF-financed project was followed by a second one which focused on implementing some of the actions that were proposed in the SAP. Although the success of these actions was relatively small compared to the magnitude of the environmental challenges in the Lake Tanganyika basin, they offer positive examples of how a sustainable future can be accomplished.
    For instance, in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund and the World Agroforestry Centre sustainable land management was successfully promoted in the South Kivu Province in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, an area that is notoriously difficult to work in because of its protracted conflict situation. Local farmers created contour terraces and planted a diversity of trees (including indigenous species that had started to disappear from the landscape). They also produced and successfully marketed improved cooking stoves to reduce the use of wood and charcoal. In Zambia, similar successes were booked by the project. Habitat destruction is being reduced, and livelihoods are being improved.
    I have lived and worked in the Tanganyika basin for over 10 years, and I have witnessed both the decline of biodiversity, as well as the recovery of habitats.
    Change is possible!

    • Lisa Borre
      March 13, 2013, 1:02 pm

      Saskia, These are great additional details about GEF-supported work on Lake Tanganyika. Thank you for taking the time to share them here.

  12. Saskia Marijnissen
    Bujumbura, Burundi
    March 13, 2013, 10:42 am

    The updated Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Lake Tanganyika and its Basin can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w660cnxgia3vnp6/LT%20SAP%202012.pdf

    • Lisa Borre
      March 13, 2013, 11:01 am

      Thanks, Saskia!

  13. Violet Jere
    Mpulungu Zambia
    March 13, 2013, 5:23 am

    I found this very interesting to read, I live and work in Mpulungu which is a small rural town on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, I work for a UNDP/GEF funded project called Lake Tanganyika Integrated Management Project, we are working with local communities in trying to control Erosion, Sedimentation and Siltation into Lake Tanganika by teaching them new farming methods ie Low Input Agriculture (Conservation Farming), planting of Woodlots and other alternative Income generating activities like Fish farming, Bee Keeping, Poultry etc, in so doing we are helping reduce the Communities’ total dependancy on the Lake.
    It was also interesting to note how far back research has been done on Lake Tanganyika, please keep up the awareness so that together we can help keep our beautiful Lake alive.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 13, 2013, 10:44 am

      Thanks for the information about your community-based project on the shores of the lake, Violet. It provides a good example of the types of adaptive management approaches mentioned in the post by addressing the issue of erosion in the watershed and focusing on the livelihoods of local people. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its implementing agencies, including the U.N. Development Programme, have been instrumental in supporting important basin management activities such as international cooperation (through the Lake Tanganyika Authority and a Strategic Action Program), biodiversity conservation, and the integrated management project in Zambia that you describe.

  14. Peter Nestory
    March 11, 2013, 6:30 am

    Dear Lisa,
    I went through the whole article and I realize all what you have reported is correct. I am among of the research scientists who have been working in Lake Tanganyika and I was not surprised to see my photo in your article (last photo in the document). Thank you for your good efforts in informing us about the ecosystems of different lakes in the world.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 11, 2013, 11:26 am

      Thanks for the comments, Peter! I’m so glad you wrote to let us know that you’re in one of the photos we selected for the post about Lake Tanganyika. And thanks for the important research that you and your colleagues are doing.

  15. Peter
    March 10, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Mememine69, you have a very narrow minded point of view. Science created pesticides and you believe that is justification to ignore all science?

    I am not surprised you are from Toronto, please stay there as Torontonians have turned that city into a massive pile of garbage. The rest of Canada does not share your mindset.

  16. Rick Lombardo
    March 10, 2013, 5:05 pm

    “Expected to…” Do you people ever wonder where that comes from? Computer models? The same kind of models that told us when I was in elementary school that we were about to enter the next ice age? And please don’t be so arrogant to fall into the “well, we were primitive then, now we know what we’re doing” fallacy. Dominant paradigms ALWAYS get proven wrong or incomplete. Don’t be a Kool-Aid drinker.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 11, 2013, 11:57 am

      Rick, This post is focused on research that shows climate warming trends based on real measurements taken over the past century and a sediment record in the lake. I mention projected future trends across tropical Africa because evidence gathered in the field and calculated using computer models indicates that these trends will continue. This is not some theoretical exercise. The lake is undergoing real changes that could affect millions of people.

  17. Debbie
    March 8, 2013, 7:26 pm

    This is so interesting! Reading this reminds me of a documentary I saw recently, Chasing Ice. It’s fantastic and you should check it out at chasingice.com.

  18. Al Bore "mememine69"
    March 8, 2013, 6:30 am

    Climate change was just a progressive’s excuse to hissy-fit and hate all of the fear mongering Republicans and to frighten and terrorize the kids into turning the lights out more often with CO2 death threats. History will call climate blame; Reefer Madness.
    Science gave us pesticides and has exaggerated the effects of Human CO2 so be happy. Real planet lovers are happy a crisis was just an exaggeration after all. The rest of you hate humanity.

  19. Joe
    March 7, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Climate Change will affect many parts of the world. There is an important book entitled the “Great Waves of Change” that provides a prophetic warning about climate change and how people can prepare to become a contributor in times of great need. Get the book for free at http://www.greatwavesofchange.org

  20. Sean
    March 7, 2013, 4:14 pm

    Mememine69, your sarcasm is duly noted. However, the planet does not suffer because it needs our help to survive. It suffers because we are killing and poisoning the very means by which it naturally maintains itself, if we would only stop polluting the water and air, cutting down the forests, and wiping out the diversity of its species.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 11, 2013, 12:27 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful (and respectful) comments in response to “Mememine69” and for your concern about the health of the planet.

  21. Betsy
    Grand Rapids, MI
    March 7, 2013, 3:04 pm

    Wonderful profile of Lake Tanganyika. The photographs were beautiful and complimented the text perfectly. I especially liked the inclusion of the information regarding the bottom sediment preserving history’s mysteries. Thank you for another informative and delightful lake story.

    • Lisa Borre
      March 11, 2013, 12:35 pm

      I’m glad you found the Tanganyika post informative and grateful to Catherine O’Reilly for not only sharing her research team’s results with me but also her photographs. Scientists like her and Peter McIntyre should be congratulated for helping the rest of us understand the interesting things being discovered about lakes throughout the world.

  22. mememine69
    March 7, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Yes children, the powers of the cosmos and Nature are fragile and weak and tender and we must help it survive otherwise it would die all by itself. Oh, did I mention you are all doomed as well? Peace and love for the planet.