Plankton of Lake Tana

  • Ayalew WondieEmail author
  • Seyoum Mengistu
Part of the AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series book series (AESS)


This review paper presents the compositions, distribution, abundance, biomass and production of plankton communities in Lake Tana from various research works. A total of 85 phytoplankton species, consisting of 15 blue greens, 37 diatoms, 28 greens, and 5 other minor groups are recorded. The phytoplankton biomass showed a certain decline when turbidity increased during the rainy season. Microcystis sp. was found to dominate the phytoplankton community of Lake Tana throughout the rainy and post-rainy seasons. The chlorophyll a concentration in the water column of the lake varied between 0.03 and 13.44 μg L−1 and showed marked seasonal variations. The highest chlorophyll concentrations were observed in the post-rainy season. The average gross primary production in Lake Tana (mean: 1.8 g O2 m−2 d−1) is relatively lower compared to African lakes. A number of studies on zooplankton in Lake Tana recorded a total of 26 zooplankton species, consisting of 3 copepods, 11 cladocerans and 12 rotifers. Copepods showed usually higher densities than cladocerans and rotifers. In the case of Lake Tana, the major factors responsible for temporal and spatial change of the plankton are resource limitations and a high sediment concentration. During the productive season (PORS), the phytoplankton is dominated by large species (e.g. Melosira and Microcystis spp.), which are difficult to be consumed by the herbivorous zooplankton.


African lake Lake Tana Phytoplankton Zooplankton Seasonal dynamics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Natural ScienceBahir Dar UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  2. 2.College of Natural SciencesAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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