A few months ago, a colleague and I received an award from UW’s Global Health Initiative to investigate how water hyacinth effects water quality in Lake Victoria and how communities around Lake Victoria interact with the lake. I am pretty excited to be starting the project, not just because it gives us the chance to uniquely answer questions at the intersection of ecology and human health, but also because it means a return to East Africa. As an undergraduate, I was lucky enough to be involved with the Nyanza Project on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania. The undergraduate research experience instilled in me a curiosity about tropical lake limnology, one that I continues with this project.
Amber and I are in the middle of our first expedition to Lake Victoria. We are being hosted by Dr. Christopher Aura and the very accommodating staff at the Kenyan Marine Fisheries Research Institute in Kisumu, Kenya. It’s been a busy week thus far: we have partnered with one of the beach communities nearby to host our in situ water hyacinth experiment, we have deployed said experiment, and we have met with lots of researchers and students both within KMFRI and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KMRI).
Photos (L to R): (1, 2) Zachary Ogari led the transport and deployment of (3) our first experimental enclosure (Usoma Beach, Lake Victoria). Unfortunately, some leaks and the waves of Lake Victoria meant that it did not stay afloat for long.
Photos (L to R): (1) A single, floating jug was the only part of our initial cage that stayed afloat in the first 24 hours. (2) However, after some modifications (mainly, preventing leaks!), we successfully launched all four enclosures and (3) added the water hyacinth.