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The Feeding Ecology of Zooplankton in Lake Malawi

The fish stocks of Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa) are a critical food source for the millions of people who live in the Lake Malawi region. Many of the species that make up these stocks are planktivorous, relying on zooplankton as a primary food source. There is evidence that, over the past several decades, the composition of the phytoplankton community in Lake Malawi has changed, possibly as a result of changing land use and increasing nutrient inputs to the lake. In order to determine the potential impact of these changes on fish production, we are conducting research to determine how zooplankton feeding is influenced by phytoplankton species composition. Our ultimate goal is to include this information in trophic dynamic models, which will allow us to better simulate the relationship between phytoplankton production and fish production.

This research is being conducted by a graduate student, Mr. Maxon Ngochera, who is supported by a Fulbright Scholarship.