Zooplankton occurrences and community structure in Lakes Victoria and Nabugabo

Latest version published by National Fisheries Resources Research Institute on 03 August 2020 National Fisheries Resources Research Institute
Publication date:
03 August 2020
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The dataset presents zooplankton taxa presence and absence occurrence records obtained from surveys conducted from 1992 to 2012 in different habitat types with varying depths in lakes Victoria and Nabugabo. Abundance data is provided for the present taxa. The habitats include nearshore and offshore/open waters.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 5,776 records.

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How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Kiggundi V, Egessa R, Mwebaza-Ndawula L (2020): Zooplankton occurrences and community structure in Lakes Victoria and Nabugabo. v1.0. National Fisheries Resources Research Institute. Dataset/Occurrence. http://ipt-uganda.gbif.fr/resource?r=lakevictoriazooplankton&v=1.0


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The publisher and rights holder of this work is National Fisheries Resources Research Institute. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: f53fe209-a37c-409e-858e-e57c3988fe6a.  National Fisheries Resources Research Institute publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Uganda.


Occurrence; Lake Victoria; Zooplankton; Observation


Vianny Natugonza
  • Point Of Contact
Research officer
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute
Lucas Mwebaza-Ndawula
  • Originator
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute
Laban Musinguzi
  • User
  • Point Of Contact
Research officer
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute
Robert Egessa
  • Originator
Research officer
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute
Vincent Kiggundi
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Senior technician
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute

Geographic Coverage

Lake Victoria and Lake Nabugabo

Bounding Coordinates South West [-2.724, 31.553], North East [0.527, 33.992]

Taxonomic Coverage

Freshwater zooplankton

Class Hexanauplia
Order Harpacticoida
Family Calanoidae, Cyclopoidae
Genus Afrocyclops, Alona, Ascomorpha, Asplanchna, Brachionus, Ceriodaphnia, Chydorus, Euclanis, Eucyclops, Hexathra, Lecane, Macrothrix, Mesocyclops, Platyias, Polyarthra, Synchaeta, Thermocyclops, Trichocerca
Species Beauchampiella eudactylota, Bosmina longirostris, Brachionus angularis, Brachionus bidentatus, Brachionus budapestinensis, Brachionus calyciflorus, Brachionus caudatus, Brachionus dimidiatus, Brachionus falcatus, Brachionus forficula, Brachionus patulus, Brachionus plicatilis, Brachionus quadridentatus, Brachionus urceolaris, Brachionus variabilis, Ceriodaphnia cornuta, Ceriodaphnia dubia, Daphnia longispina, Daphnia lumholtzi, Diaphanosoma excisum, Filinia longiseta, Filinia opoliensis, Keratella cochlearis, Keratella tropica, Lecane bulla, Lecane luna, Macrochaetus sericus, Moina micrura, Platyias quadricornis, Polyarthra vulgaris, Synchaeta pectinata, Testudinella patina, Thermocyclops decipiens, Thermocyclops emini, Thermocyclops incisus, Thermocyclops neglectus, Thermocyclops oblongatus, Thermodiaptomus galeboides, Trichocerca cylindrica, Tropocyclops confinnis, Tropocyclops tenellus, Tropodiaptomus stuhlmanni

Temporal Coverage

Formation Period 1992-2012

Project Data

This work was part of research and monitoring studies done in predetermined sites and localities of Lake Victoria and Nabugabo. The results generally indicated zooplankton community comprised of majorly three broad taxa groups; Copepoda, Cladocera and Rotifera (Mwebaza-Ndawula et al., 2004). The data presented provide useful basis for tracking community changes in comparison with observations form earlier studies (Rzoska (1957; Stuhlmann, 1888), Weltner, 1897; Mrazek, 1895; Daday, 1907; Verestchagin, 1915; Delachaux, 1917; Worthington, 1931). These earlier works provided the first quantitative account of the zooplankton on Lake Victoria. The current data show changes from the bigger Calanoida and Cladocera to the smaller cyclopoid copepods (Mwebaza-Ndawula, 1994) attributed to the changes in limnological conditions during the present century, which seem to be driven primarily by changes in nutrient input and regional climate (Waya & Mwambugu, 2004).

Title Zooplankton occurrences and community structure in Lakes Victoria and Nabugabo
Study Area Description The study area was mainly the Northern part of Lake Victoria (Ugandan portion) with very few sites on the Tanzanian portion and Lake Nabugabo.
Design Description The lake wide Northern portion of Lake Victoria was investigated between 1992 and 2012. Study areas represent a wider habitat based on the depth profile and distances from shoreline.

The personnel involved in the project:

Vincent Kiggundi

Sampling Methods

Zooplankton samples were collected with a conical plankton net (Nansen type; mesh size 60 µm; mouth diameter 0.25 m), towed vertically through the water column, as described by Mwebaza-Ndawula (1994). Each sample was washed with tap water in the laboratory over a 53 µm sieve to remove the preservative and then diluted to a suitable volume, depending on the concentration of organisms in each sample. Sub-samples of 2, 2, 5 and 10 mL were taken with a wide bore automatic pipette from a well agitated sample. The sub-sample series were performed to consider the more abundant organisms in 2, 2 mL series, and the rarer organisms in 2, 2, 5, 10 mL series. Each sub-sample was put into a counting chamber and examined under inverted microscope (Hund, Wetzlar, Germany) at X100 magnification for taxonomic determination, and X40 for counting and organism body measurements.

Study Extent Sampling was conducted from 1992-98, 2000-06, 2008 and 2012 and was done majorly in northern Lake Victoria, including some parts of southern portion (Tanzania) and Lake Nabugabo.
Quality Control Some zooplankton were able to be identified to species level using published taxonomic keys (Sars 1895; Pennak 1953; Brooks 1957; Rutner-Kolisko 1974; Koste 1978; Boxshall & Braide 1991; Korinek 1999). Taxonomic names were cross-checked using the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). Volume densities of organisms were calculated from the counts data, with reference to the sample net mouth diameter and water column depth at each sampling site (Mwebaza-Ndawula, 1998).

Method step description:

  1. Collection of the zooplankton In the field, a conical plankton net (Nansen type; mesh size 60 µm; mouth diameter 0.25 m), towed vertically through the water column to have an integrated sample was used to collect the zooplankton. Three hauls were taken per site and were combined to make a composite sample.
  2. Preserving the samples The composite sample was preserved with sugar-formalin mixture. The sugar was to stop the ballooning of cladocerans for easy identification.
  3. Identification of zooplankton taxa In the laboratory, samples were washed using a sieve of 53 µm to remove the fixatives. Organisms were identified to the smallest taxonomic level possible using taxonomic keys (Sars, 1895, Pennak, 1953, Brooks, 1957, Rutner-Kolisko, 1974, Koste, 1978, Boxshall and Braide, 1991, Korinek, 1999). Density of organisms were calculated from the counts data, with reference to the sample net mouth diameter and water column depth at each sampling site (Mwebaza-Ndawula, 1998)

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Boxshall, G. A. & Braide, E. I. 1991. The freshwater cyclopoid copepods of Nigeria, with an illustrated key to all species. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (zool), 57, 185-212.
  2. Brooks, J. L. 1957. The systematics of North American Daphnia. Memoirs of the connecticut academy of Arts and Sciences, 13, 1-18.
  3. Daday, E. 1907. Plancton-Tiere aus dem Victoria Nyanza. Zool. Jb. zool. Jb., 25, 245-262.
  4. Delachaux, T. 1917. Cladocera de la region du Lac Victoria Nyanza. Zool. Jahrb Syst, 25, 245-262.
  5. Korinek, V. 1999. A guide to limnetic species of Cladocera of African inland waters (Crustacea, Branchiopoda). The International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology. SIL.
  6. Koste, W. 1978. Rotatoria. Die Radertiere Mitteleuropas. Ein Bestimmungwerk, begrundet vo Max Voig. Uberrordnung Monogononta. Gebruder Borntraeger, Berlin, Stuttgart.
  7. Mrazek, A. 1895. Die Copepoden Ost-Afrikas. In Deutsch Ost Afrika, 4, 1-11.
  8. Mwebaza-Ndawula, L. 1994. Changes in relative abundance of zooplankton in northern Lake Victoria, East Africa. Hydrobiologia, 272, 256-264.
  9. Mwebaza-Ndawula, L. 1998. Distribution, abundance of zooplankton and Rastrineobola argentea (Pisces: Cyprinidae) and their trophic interactions in northern Lake Victoria, East Africa. , University of Vienna, Austria, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis.
  10. Mwebaza-Ndawula, L., Kiggundu, V. & Pabire Ghandhi, W. 2004. The status and significance of invertebrate communities. In: BALIRWA, J. S., MUGIDDE, R. & OGUTU-OHWAYO, R. (eds.) Challenges for Management of the Fisheries Resources, Biodiversity and Environment of Lake Victoria. First ed. JInja, Uganda: Fisheries Resources Research Institute.
  11. Pennak, R. W. 1953. Fresh-water invertebrates of the United States, New York, John Wiley & Sons.
  12. Rutner-Kolisko, A. 1974. Planktonic rotifers: Biology and taxonomy, Biological Station Lunz of the Austrian Academy of Science. E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.
  13. Rzoska, J. 1957. Notes on the crustacean plankton of Lake Victoria. proc. Linn. Soc. Lond, 168, 1126-125.
  14. Sars, G. O. 1895. An account of the Crustacea of Norway, Christiania and Copenhagen Alb. Cammermeyer Forlag
  15. Stuhlmann, F. 1888. Vorläufiger Bericht über eine mit Unterstützung der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften unternommence Reise nach Ost-Afrika, zur Untersuchung der Süsswasserfauna. Sitzungsberichte der Königlich-Preussischen. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1255-1269.
  16. Verestchagin, G. 1915. Some remarks on the fauna of central Africa. Zool. Exped Br East Africa Uganda Petrograd, 1, 1-26.
  17. Waya, R. K. & Mwambugu, J. A. 2004. Zooplankton Communities of selected stations of Lake Victoria. Tanzania Journal of Science, 30, 11 - 20.
  18. Weltner, W. 1897. Die Cladoceren Ost-Afrikas. . In Deutsch Ost Afrika, 1-14.
  19. Worthington, E. B. 1931. Vertical movements of freshwater macroplankton. . Int. Rev. ges. Hydrobiol. Hydrogr, 25 394-436.

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