Modern distribution of ostracodes and other limnological indicators in southern Lake Malawi: Implications for paleocological studies

Margaret Whiting Blome, Andrew S. Cohen, Matthew J. Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This modern distribution study from the southwest arm of Lake Malawi quantitatively relates variables of the lake environment to surficial assemblages of ostracodes and other paleoenvironmental indicators (molluscs, Botryococcus, fish, and charcoal) from 102 sites, across a gradient of littoral to shallow profundal conditions. The goal of this research is to use the resultant relationships to help quantify paleoecological interpretations of the fossil record from sediment cores. Site locations varied by depth (1-60 m) and adjacent shoreline environment. Thirty-three ostracode species are identified from 54 sites including four new, undescribed species of Cypridopsinae (2) and Limnocythere (2). Ostracodes are extremely abundant between 1 and 25 m water depth, but are rare to absent between 30 and 60 m. This disappearance is probably taphonomically controlled, with carbonate dissolution in the death assemblage since abundant live ostracodes have been found in the lake at greater than 30 m depth, where bottom sediments lack calcium carbonate. Constrained correspondence analysis (CCA) of ostracode species abundance suggests depth and dissolved oxygen (DO) content to be the primary environmental variables affecting their distribution. Additional CCA models using all biological indicators suggest limnologic variables correlated with depth (e.g., bottom water temperature and DO) and adjacent shoreline environment were most significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-200
Number of pages22
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume728
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • East Africa
  • Lake Malawi
  • Modern distribution study
  • Ostracodes
  • Paleoecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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