Biodiversity & limnological functioning of the Malagarasi-Moyovosi wetlands, western Tanzania “Sampling Strategies & Methods”

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We  sampled  approximately  40  sites  at  20  stops  along  the  main  flow  of  the  Malagarasi  River  proper,  and additionally  associated  shallow  Lakes  Sagara  &  Nyamagoma,  small  stream  and  delta  inflows  into  Lake Tanganyika (Kakombe, Rutanga, Mitumba in Gombe Stream Nat. Park, Luiche River), other Malagarasi tributary rivers such as the Lugufu, Ruchugi, Ugalla, Igombe, Moyovosi, and Makere. Our collections were GIS based and are linked with quantitative limnological profiling as well as qualitative habitat descriptions. Table 1 details the site locations and collections made, Fig. 1 shows the map of stops, and the ‘logistics overview’ at the end of this document gives a temporal overview and list of team members.  At each stop we attempted to survey all available aquatic habitats, thus a single stop might have included several habitat-defined sites.  Biodiversity collections focused on the taxa of speciality for our team: fish, herps (amphibians & reptiles), molluscs, and phytoplankton (as part of limno sampling), with additional collections of aquatic insects, crustaceans and benthic diatoms which have been distributed to experts on return (listed below). Biodiversity sampling included netting (seine, dip, kick, drift, plankton) and focused hand collecting (e.g. under rocks, plants, night collections, snorkeling, discussions with local people).  For all taxa collected we preserved tissue samples in ethanol as a priority and in formalin as vouchers if dictated  by the volume  of  tissue.  In  this way we were  able  to  make  duel  use collections  with reasonable morphological sample sizes and representative large individuals. Only photos were taken in the National Park.

Limnological sampling included physical parameters measured in situ such as dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity (EC), redox potential (Eh), turbidity, temperature, pH and secchi transparency.  Nutrients such as 40 sampled sites, about 20 stops along Malagarasi and inflowing rivers.

TAFIRI-Kigoma.    Biological  parameters  of  primary  productivity  were  assayed  using  a  flourometer  (Turner Designs) to assess chlorophyll a and light-dark incubations with Winkler titrations in a mobile field lab. Biodiversity and limnological sampling occurred at the same sites, to the greatest extent possible.  As the limnological work required setting up a sampling station (especially for productivity analyses which take several hours), and the biodiversity work included ranging over all available local habitats, the site sample numbers are slightly different.

We had an opportunity to do a GPS-linked photographic aerial survey of the lower Malagarasi river with an experienced local pilot and professional photographer.  We spent 2.5 hours flying over this region in August 2005 to document habitat heterogeneity and land use changes.

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