Solar irradiance and ENSO affect food security in Lake Tanganyika, a major African inland fishery

M. M. McGlue, S. J. Ivory, J. R. Stone, A. S. Cohen, T. M. Kamulali, J. C. Latimer, M. A. Brannon, I. A. Kimirei, M. J. Soreghan

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12 Scopus citations


Food security in a warming world is a grave concern for rapidly growing impoverished populations. Low-latitude inland fisheries provide protein for millions of rural poor, yet the impacts of high-frequency climate oscillations on these aquatic ecosystems are unknown. Here, we present a sub-annual-to-annual resolution paleolimnological reconstruction of upwelling, productivity, and algal composition at Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa's largest landlocked fisheries. The data reveal increases in diatom production at centennial-scale solar irradiance maxima, and interannual variability in upwelling linked to La Niña. Our study shows that interactions between global climatic controls and El Niño-Southern Oscillation teleconnections exert profound influences on the foundation of Lake Tanganyika's food web. Adapting long-term management practices to account for high-frequency changes in algal production will help safeguard inland fish resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabb2191
JournalScience Advances
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 7 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) for authorizing the research (2016-300-ER-2011-87); the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute Kigoma Station and the Nature Conservancy for logistics assistance; J. Lucas, E. Ryan, A. Mbonde, M. Mupape, and the crew of the M/V Maman Benita for field assistance; the LacCore staff and R. Brown for core curation, processing, and XRF assistance; H. Bierly and E. Smith for assistance with diatom sample preparation; R. Gaines for assistance with P extraction; and J. Russell, S. Fritz, P. McIntyre, D. Carden, G. Ellis, C. Apse, and two anonymous reviewers for comments and discussion on early drafts. This research was supported by the University of Kentucky-Pioneer Endowment, SEG-Geoscientists Without Borders (201401005), and the U.S. NSF (EAR-1424907).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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