The late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and the origin of its endemic biota

  title={The late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and the origin of its endemic biota},
  author={J. Curt Stager and Thomas C. Johnson},
Lingering debate among evolutionary biologists over whether or not Lake Victoria dried out during the late Pleistocene focuses on perceived conflicts between biological and geological evidence for the age of its endemic species. This article reviews and updates the geophysical and paleoecological evidence for lake-wide desiccation and describes the environmental conditions that aquatic species likely experienced during the low stand. Lake Victoria was at its lowest between 18,000 and 14,000… 

Pleistocene desiccation in East Africa bottlenecked but did not extirpate the adaptive radiation of Lake Victoria haplochromine cichlid fishes

This study studied the population history of the Lake Victoria region superflock (LVRS) of haplochromine cichlids based on nuclear genetic analysis of populations from Lake Kivu, Lake Victoria, and the connected and surrounding rivers and lakes to suggest dramatic desiccation of this lake ca.

The Pleistocene prehistory of the Lake Victoria basin

Population collapse in viviparid gastropods of the Lake Victoria ecoregion started before the Last Glacial Maximum

Whether viviparid gastropods experienced a population bottleneck during the Last Glacial Maximum, as did cichlids, is tested to test whether anthropogenic ecosystem deterioration is causing homogenization of previously diversified microhabitats, which may contribute to (local) extinction and enhanced gene flow among species within gene pools.

Biogeographic and Evolutionary Implications of an Extinct Late Pleistocene Impala from the Lake Victoria Basin, Kenya

The Lake Victoria impala belongs to an extinct species that differs from modern impala and its fossil predecessors by a combination of exceptionally deep mandibles and teeth characterized by greater hypsodonty and occlusal lengths, suggesting a more dedicated adaptation to grazing in open and dry environments.

On the Age and Origin of Lake Ejagham, Cameroon, and Its Endemic Fishes

Abstract Lake Ejagham is a small, shallow lake in Cameroon, West Africa, which supports five endemic species of cichlid fishes in two distinct lineages. Genetic evidence suggests a relatively young

Diatom evidence for the timing and causes of eutrophication in Lake Victoria, East Africa

The determination of the history and causes of recent eutrophication and intensified thermal stratification in Lake Victoria is still hampered by the sparsity of paleolimnologic coverage of the

Old fossils–young species: evolutionary history of an endemic gastropod assemblage in Lake Malawi

It is argued that severe drops in the lake level of Lake Malawi in the Pleistocene offer a potential explanation for this pattern and challenge previously established phylogenetic relationships within the genus by revealing parallel evolution and providing evidence that the endemic Lanistes species are not restricted to the lake proper but are present throughout the Malawi Rift.

Late Pleistocene Fish Remains from the Rurubu River, Tanzania

ABSTRACT A collection of fish bones was recovered from upper Pleistocene (Gamblian) deposits near the confluence of the Kagera and Rurubu rivers in Tanzania, west of Lake Victoria. The Rurubu/Kagera

The Impact of the Geologic History and Paleoclimate on the Diversification of East African Cichlids

The geologic history and paleoclimate of the East African Great Lakes and the impact of these forces on the region's endemic cichlid flocks are reviewed.



On the age and origin of the species flock of haplochromine cichlid fishes of Lake Victoria

  • G. Fryer
  • Geology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
The suggestion that Lake Victoria dried out completely in the Late Pleistocene, was dry for several thousand years, and refilled ca.

A 5500-year environmental history of Lake Nabugabo, Uganda

Patterns in fish radiation are compatible with Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria and 14 600 year history for its cichlid species flock

  • O. Seehausen
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2002
The composition of the fish assemblage does not provide biological evidence against Pleistocene desiccation, and a hypothesis of recent colonization from outside the lake basin rather than survival of a diverse assemblages within the basin is supported.

Speciation rates in lakes and the enigma of Lake Victoria

Recent geophysical and palaeolimnological investigations are considered, and many uncertainties and contradictions are revealed, and the striking morphological changes, especially by the haplochromines, cannot be matched elsewhere.

Biological implications of a suggested Late Pleistocene desiccation of Lake Victoria

  • G. Fryer
  • Environmental Science
  • 2004
If, as recently suggested, Lake Victoria dried up completely in theLate Pleistocene and refilled c 12,400 BP, not only must therate of speciation of its flock of cichlid fishes have been

The Holocene History of Lake Victoria

Abstract Recent investigations by the International Decade for the East African Lakes (IDEAL) have significantly advanced our knowledge on the history of Lake Victoria. Seismic reflection profiles

The origin and age of haplochromine fishes in Lake Victoria, East Africa

According to a widely held view, the more than 300 species of haplochromine cichlid fishes in Lake Victoria (LV), East Africa, originated from a single founder species in less than 12 000 years. This

Origin of the Superflock of Cichlid Fishes from Lake Victoria, East Africa

A haplotype analysis shows that the most recent desiccation of Lake Victoria did not lead to a complete extinction of its endemic cichlid fauna and that the major lineage diversification took place about 100,000 years ago.

Cooling cycles, Heinrich event 1, and the desiccation of Lake Victoria

An extant cichlid fish radiation emerged in an extinct Pleistocene lake

The discovery of a recently adaptive radiation in a large lake that dried up in the Holocene seeded all major river systems of southern Africa with ecologically diverse cichlids reveals how local evolutionary processes operating during a short window of ecological opportunity can have a major and lasting effect on biodiversity on a continental scale.