Diversity, composition and abundance of macroinvertebrates associated with water hyacinth mats in Lake Victoria, Kenya
This study is set to investigate the macroinvertebrate community structure within water hyacinth in the Kenyan waters of Lake Victoria. This is helpful in determining the relationship between water hyacinth and macroinvertebrates. A total of four replicates were taken from 18 sampling stations within the lake using a Ponar grab and a 500 µm scoop net. The samples were washed through a 300 µm sieve and sorted alive in the field. The organisms were then identified to genus level and further categorized into functional feeding guilds using available keys and literature. The vertical position of the organisms at a water hyacinth mat was also examined. The data was then analyzed for diversity and abundance. One way ANOVA was further done to test any significant variation in community attributes between stations within the lake. All the physic-chemical parameters measured varied significantly though pairwise comparison revealed that most stations were in same sub set. A total of 14 orders and 34 genera were identified during the study. Out of which, 13 genera which include Chironomus, Lymneae, Hirudo, Tubifex, Platycnemis, Sympetrum, Trithemis, Melanoides, Biomphalaria, Ilybius, Elmis, Leptocerus, and Hexagenia were found at every sampling station. Most of the taxa found were predators probably feeding on mosquito larvae which could explain their absence. There was no significant difference in the diversity between stations though they varied in abundance. It is thus concluded that water hyacinth influences the distribution of macroinvertebrates and can thus be used to predict their presence. The feeding guilds were however assigned using existing literature. It is therefore recommended that a further study be done to confirm the feeding habits and the presence of mosquito larvae.
Key words: Macroinvertebrates, hyacinth, Lake Victoria