Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 122, Issue 1–3, pp 275–287 | Cite as

Integrating Remote Sensing Approach with Pollution Monitoring Tools for Aquatic Ecosystem Risk Assessment and Managment: A Case Study of Lake Victoria(UGANDA)

  • Silvia Focardi
  • Ilaria Corsi
  • Stefania Mazzuoli
  • Leonardo Vignoli
  • Steven A. Loiselle
  • Silvano Focardi


Aquatic ecosystems around the world, lake, estuaries and coastal areas are increasingly impacted by anthropogenic pollutants through different sources such as agricultural, industrial and urban discharges, atmospheric deposition and terrestrial drainage. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world and the largest tropical lake. Bordered by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya, it provides a livelihood for millions of Africans in the region. However, the lake is under threat from eutrophication, a huge decline in the number of native fish species caused by several factors including loss of biodiversity, over fishing and pollution has been recently documented. Increasing usage of pesticides and insecticides in the adjacent agricultural areas as well as mercury contamination from processing of gold ore on the southern shores are currently considered among the most emergent phenomena of chemical contamination in the lake. By the application of globally consistent and comprehensive geospatial data-sets based on remote sensing integrated with information on heavy metals accumulation and insecticides exposure in native and alien fish populations, the present study aims at assessing the environmental risk associated to the contamination of the Lake Victoria water body on fish health, land cover distribution, biodiversity and the agricultural area surrounding the lake. By the elaboration of Landsat 7 TM data of November 2002 and Landsat 7 TM 1986 we have calculated the agriculture area which borders the Lake Victoria bay, which is an upland plain. This process has greatly enhanced nutrient loading to the soil, which is subsequently transported to the lake by rain or as dry fall. All the data has been insert in the Geographical information System (ARCGIS) to be upgraded and consulted. Heavy metals in fish fillets showed concentrations rather low except for mercury being higher than others as already described in previous investigations. In the same tissue, cholinesterases activity (ChE) as an indicator of insecticides exposure showed significant differences among fish species in both activity and sensitivity of selected inhibitor insecticides. This integrated approach aims at identifying and quantifying selected aquatic environmental issues which integrated with monitoring techniques such as contaminant concentrations and biological responses to insecticides exposure in fish populations will provide a scientific basis for aquatic zones management and assist in policy formulations at the national and international levels.


remote sensing ARCGIS Lake Victoria heavy metals insecticide exposure fish 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aber, J. S.: 2000, ES 771 – Remote Sensing (internet course in fall semester 2000).Google Scholar
  2. Alabaster, J. S.: 1981, ‘Review of the state of aquatic pollution in East African Inland Waters’, CIFA Occ. Pap. 9, 1–36.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, A. M.: 1961, ‘Further observations concerning the proposed introduction of the Nile perch into Lake Victoria’, E. Afr. Agric. J. 26, 195–201.Google Scholar
  4. Barel, C., Ligtvoet, W., Goldschmidt, T., Witte, F. and Goudswaard, P.: 1991, ‘The haplochromine cichlids in Lake Victoria: An assessment of biological and fisheries interests’, in M. Keenleyside (ed.), Cichlid Fishes: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution, Chapman & Hall, London.Google Scholar
  5. Bradford, M. M.: 1976, ‘A rapid and sensitive method for the quantification of microgram quantities of protein utilising the principle of protein-dye-binding’, Analitycal Biochemistry 72, 248–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crul, R. C. M.: 1995, Limnology and Hydrology of Lake Victoria. UNESCO/IHP-IV Project M-5.1. UNESCO, Paris.Google Scholar
  7. Ellman G. L., Courtney, K. D., Andreas, V., Jr. and Featherstone R. M.: 1961, ‘A new rapid colorimetric determination of acetylcholinesterase activity’, Biochem. Pharmacol. 7, 88–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. FAO: 1998, The State of the World Fisheries. Food and Agriculture Organisation. Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  9. Food and Agriculture Organisation: 1990, Year Book of Fishery Statistics. Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  10. Fryer, G.: 1960, ‘Concerning the proposed introduction of Nile perch into Lake Victoria’, E. Afr. Agr. J. 25, 267–260.Google Scholar
  11. Fuller, R. M., Parsell, R. J., Oliver, M. and Wyatt, G.: 1989, ‘Visual and computer classifications of remotely-sensed images. A case study of grasslands in Cambridgeshire’, International Journal of Remote Sensing 10, 193–210Google Scholar
  12. Fulton, M. H. and Key, P. B.: 2001, ‘Acetylcholinesterase inhibition in estuarine fish and invertebrates as an indicator of organophosphorus insecticide exposure and effects’, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 20, 37–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gill, T. S., Pande, J. and Tewari, H.: 1990a, ‘Enzyme modulation by sublethal concentrations of aldicarb, phosphamidon and endosulfan in fish tissue’, Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 38, 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gill, T. S., Tewari, H. and Pande, J.: 1990b, ‘Use of the fish enzyme system in monitoring water quality: effects of mercury on tissue enzymes’, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 97C, 287–292.Google Scholar
  15. Goldsmidt, T. and Witte, F.: 1992, ‘Explosive speciation and adaptive radiation of haplochromines cichlids from Lake Victoria. An illustration of the scientific value of a lost species flock’ Mitt. Interat. Varein. Limnol. 23, 101–107.Google Scholar
  16. Greenwood, P. H.: 1956, ‘The fishes of Uganda’, Uganda J. I–III, 1–80.Google Scholar
  17. Hecky, R. E. and Bugenyi: 1992, ‘Hydrology and chemistry of the Great lakes and water quality issues: Problems and solutions’, Mitt. Internat. Verein Limnol. 23, 45–54.Google Scholar
  18. Hecky, R. E.: 1993, ‘The eutrophication of Lake Victoria’, Verhandlungen Internationale Vereinigung Limnologie 25, 39–48.Google Scholar
  19. Jackwerth, E. and Wurfels, M.: 1997, ‘Pressure digestion: Apparatus, problems and applications’, in M. Stoeppler (ed.), Sampling and Sample Preparation, pp. 142–152.Google Scholar
  20. Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization: 1996, Final Act of the Convention Establishing Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization. LVFO, Jinja, Uganda.Google Scholar
  21. Lowe-McConnell R.: 1997, ‘EAFRO and after: A guide to key events affecting fish communities in Lake Victoria (East Africa)’, S. Afr. J. Sci. 93, 570–573.Google Scholar
  22. Marten, G. C., Shenk, J. S. and Barton, F. E.: 1989, ‘Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS): Analysis of forage quality’, USDA Res. Ser. Handbook #643. II (eds.)Google Scholar
  23. Massoulié J.: 1993, ‘Molecular and cellular biology of cholinesterases’, Prog. Neurobio 41, 31–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ntiba, M. J., Kudoja, W. M. and Mukasa, C. T.: 2001, ‘Management issues in the Lake Victoria watershed’, Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 6(3), 211–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ochumba, P. B. O. and Kibaara, D. I.: 1989, ‘Observations on blue-green algal blooms in the open waters of Lake Victoria, Kenya’, African Journal of Ecology 27, 23–34.Google Scholar
  26. Ogari, J. and Dadzie, S.: 1988, ‘The food of the Nile perch, Lates niloticus (L.), after the disappearance of the haplochromine cichlids in the Nyanza Gulf of Lake Victoria (Kenya)’, J. Fish Biol. 32, 571–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodriguez-Fuentes, G. and Gold-Bouchot, G.: 2004, ‘Characterization of cholinesterase activity from different tissues of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)’, Mar. Environ. Res. 58, 505–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Silver A.: 1974, ‘The biology of cholinesterases’, in A. Neuberger and E.L. Tatum (eds.), Frontiers of Biology, vol. 36, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  29. Sturm, A., da Silva de Assis, H. C. and Hansen P. D.: 1999, ‘Cholinesterases of marine teleost fish: enzymological characterization and potential use in the monitoring of neurotoxic contamination’, Mar. Environ. Res. 47, 389–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Talling, J. F.: 1966, The annual cycle of stratification and phytoplankton growth in Lake Victoria (East Africa). Internationale Revue der gesamten Hydrobiologie 51, 545–621.Google Scholar
  31. Townshend, J. R. G.: 1992, ‘Land cover’, International Journal of Remote Sensing 13, 1319–1328Google Scholar
  32. Varò, I., Navarro, J. C., Amat, F. and Guilhermino L.: 2003, ‘Effect of dichlorvos on cholinesterase activity of the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)’, Pest. Biochem. Physiol. 75, 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Weiss, C. M.: 1964, ‘Detection of pesticides in water by biochemical assay’, J. Wat. Pollut. Ctrl. Fed. 36, 240–253.Google Scholar
  34. Weyer, L. G.: 1985, ‘Near infraredspectroscopyof organic substances’, App. Spect. Rev. 21, 1–43Google Scholar
  35. Witte, F., Goldschmidt, T., Wanik, J., et al.: 1992, ‘The destruction of an endemic species flock: Quantitative data on the decline of the haplochromine cichlids of Lake Victoria’, Environ. Biol. Fish. 34, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Focardi
    • 1
  • Ilaria Corsi
    • 2
  • Stefania Mazzuoli
    • 1
  • Leonardo Vignoli
    • 3
  • Steven A. Loiselle
    • 1
  • Silvano Focardi
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche e dei Biosistemi.Università di SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali“ G.Sarfatti”Università di SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità degli Studi Roma TreRomaItaly

Personalised recommendations