Significance of terrestrial inflows to carbon and nitrogen distribution in the Lake Victoria surface water

  • C Tungaraza
  • R Mato
  • SL Mkoma
  • CN Ezekiel


This was an investigation to characterize seasonal and spatial distribution of particulate organic matter (POM) in the surface water of Lake Victoria at Speke Gulf, by using carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 isotopic signatures. Speke Gulf is under the influence of terrestrial inflow through river Simiyu. The POM from the lake surface water had higher C:N ratio values decreasing towards the deeper lake water, an indication of decreasing nitrogen content relative to carbonic materials. Samples away from the river mouth provided C:N ratios within the Redfield ratio range (C:N:P; 106:16:1) indicating materials of phytoplanktonic origin. The POM isotopes composition indicated a maximum ä13C value of .21.2‰ close to the river mouth and lowest value (~ .25‰) away from the river influence. The ä15N maximum (14.7‰) was observed near the river mouth with lower values (5.8‰) found in deeper waters away from the river mouth. Overall, there was a general decrease of 13C and ä15N values from shallow water to deeper water. There was higher ä15N value dispersion (std. Dev. ±3.4‰) compared to ä13C values with std. Dev.±1.2‰. These values also varied with seasons, a phenomenon showing significant influence of land run off on the lake elemental distribution, carbon and nitrogen in particular.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1997-342X
print ISSN: 1991-8631