Biodiversity of a tropical reservoir, south-eastern lowveld, Zimbabwe

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Population dynamics, communities and impact of water level fluctuations

The study provides the first record of a limnological investigation of the Malilangwe reservoir, situated in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe.

Most reservoirs of comparable size spill annually but the Malilangwe reservoir has not spilled in nearly 11 years making it a unique system.

Water quality varied both spatially and temporarily in accordance with water level fluctuations.

A total of 98 phytoplankton species and 68 zooplankton species were recorded.

Variation in macrophyte species composition, distribution and abundance identified 13 species representing 8 families.

Change of seasons and water level fluctuations caused successional changes in macrophyte community structure from the dominant emergent macrophytes.

A macroinvertebrate community assessment identified forty-two families.

A fish diversity fauna survey done in Malilangwe reservoir, Chiredzi and Runde Rivers, Hippo Valley swamp and irrigation channels found a total of 36 fish species belonging to 11 families with 8 species from 5 families being recorded from the reservoir.

Tilapia rendalli was of conservation significance in the reservoir as its habitat was being severely affected by water level fluctuations.

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