Seeing the water for the fish: building on perspectives of Lake Victoria

A.S. Downing

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Over the past century, Lake Victoria, in East Africa, has been stage to the most dramatic social, economical and ecological changes: it saw a hundreds-rich diversity of fish species collapse; an introduced predator (Nile perch) invade and become the product of a valuable international fish export trade – a trade that invited an insurge of migrants to work on the lake’s shores.

Since the 1990s, there has been an increase in dependence on the lake’s resources – including Nile perch and the other commercial fishes of the lake – and a decrease in the predictability and reliability of these resources.

We here use a variety of ecological models to explore how changes in fishing and water quality influence changes in the lake’s food webs and Nile perch stocks. We describe the lake in its social-ecological perspective, and define the makers and breakers of the system’s resilience and recommend holistic and adaptive management policies.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Mooij, Wolf, Promotor
  • Scheffer, Marten, Promotor
  • van Nes, Egbert, Co-promotor
Award date8 Oct 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789461733672
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2012


  • water quality
  • lake victoria
  • fishes
  • food webs
  • aquatic ecosystems
  • perch
  • growth
  • reproduction


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