What Does It All Mean?

What we do has two, parallel uses. The most immediate is to give the information and its interpretation to our Kenyan colleagues who want to use it to improve their daily lives and the environment that they live in. The mechanisms for this are the same in all the lakes and their basins where we work,-through the global partnership of Ramsar sites and using the thoroughly tried-and-tested support provided by the Ramsar Secretariat based in Switzerland. The second is to make the data available to the scientific community, not least because these lakes are unique in the world. That means publishing in scientific journals. We published 17 papers in 2002, in the book after our Naivasha conference, and since then have published or ‘in press’ 4 more on this lake; 5 on Lake Bogoria and flamingos and 2 on Baringo.

The last few years have been very exciting times for our studies. We discovered and were the first to document a new lake in the floodplain of the main river leading to Baringo. This lake has given us insight into Baringo and Naivasha’s original ecosystem, before it was impacted by humans, and has given us an indication of how quickly the lakes could recover if we can reduce the pressures on them. We have put satellite transmitters on 7 lesser flamingos, whose movements in eastern Africa can be followed from the WWT web site, and which yield new information for science and conservation . We started a parallel project in 2003, funded by the Darwin Initiative project, to help conserve the species and develop the necessary infrastructure & education at Lake Bogoria. Through the use of new techniques (stable isotope analysis) combined with old-fashioned, but essential field observations, we have gained new insight into the way that Lake Naivasha’s ecosystem is being restructured to an unprecedented degree by alien species.

Linking with the local community

At each location we are working with local communities, through their schools, to make conservation an essential part of their local lives. This is part of the Darwin Initiative project at Lake Bogoria, and in Naivasha is through the LNRA working with the Brock Initiative to make short, relevant films with a conservation scheme.

Our work with the Darwin Initiative

Naivasha, and the town next to Elementeita, Gilgil, have big problems with AIDS and resulting orphans. Maureen Harper helped to set up and we now support an orphanage in each town.

Here is their latest report

Recently published

Zaccara S., G. Crosa, B. Childress, G. McCulloch and D. M. Harper (2008). Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) populations in eastern and southern Africa are not genetically isolated. Ostrich – Journal of African Ornithology, 79, 2.

Britton JR, Harper DM. (2008) Juvenile growth of two tilapia species in lakes Naivasha and Baringo, Kenya. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 17: 481–488.

Britton, JR., Boar, R., Grey, J., Foster, J., Lugonzo, J., D.M. Harper (2007) From introduction to fishery dominance: the initial impacts of the invasive carp Cyprinus carpio in Lake Naivasha, Kenya, 1999-2006. Journal of Fish Biology, 71, 239-257.

Childress, B., B. Hughes, D.M. Harper, W. Van den Bossche, P. Berthold & U. Querner (2007) East African flyway and key site network of the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) documented through satellite tracking. Ostrich – Journal of African Ornithology, 78, 483-488.

Foster J & D.M. Harper, (2006). Status of the Alien Louisianan Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii Girard and the Native African Freshwater Crab Potamonautes loveni in Rivers of the Lake Naivasha Catchment, Kenya. Freshwater Crayfish 15, 1-8.

Foster J & D.M. Harper, (2006). The Alien Louisianan Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii Girard in Lake Naivasha, Kenya 1999-2003. Freshwater Crayfish 15, 9-15.

Oaks, J.L., Bradway, D., Davis, M. & Harper, D.M. (2006) Septic Arthritis and disseminated infections caused by Mycobacterium avium in Lesser Flamingos, Lake Bogoria, Kenya. Flamingo, 14, 30-32.

Childress, R.B., D.M.Harper, B. Hughes & C. Ferris (2006). Adaptive benefits of differential post-fledging growth patterns in the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor). Ostrich – Journal of African Ornithology 77, 84-89

Britton J.R. & Harper D.M. (2006). Length-weight relationships of fish species in the freshwater rift valley lakes of Kenya. Journal of Applied Icthyology 22, 1-3.

Britton J.R. & Harper D.M. (2005) Preliminary investigations into the age and growth of a large mouth bass population in an equatorial lake. Journal of East African Natural History 94, 363-370.

Britton J.R. & Harper D.M. (2005) Assessing the true status of Labeo cylindricus in Lake Baringo, Kenya. African Journal of Aquatic Science 30, 203-205.

Childress, R.B., D.M.Harper, B. Hughes & C. Ferris (2005). Sex determination in the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) using morphological measurements. Ostrich – Journal of African Ornithology 76, 148-153.

Harper, D.M. & K.M. Mavuti (2004). Lake Naivasha, Kenya: Ecohydrology to guide the management of a tropical protected area. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology 4, 287-305.

Phil Hickley, Mucai Muchiri, Rosalind Boar, Robert Britton, Chris Adams, Nicholas Gichuru, David Harper "Habitat degradation and subsequent fishery collapse in Lakes Naivasha and Baringo, Kenya" published in the International Journal of Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, No 4, 503-517, 2004.

Virani M.Z., Harper D.M. (2004) A comparative study of the breeding behaviour of the Augur Buzzard, Buteo augur, in two different land-use areas in southern Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Ostrich 75: 11-19

Childress B., Harper D., Hughes B., Van den Bossche W. Berthold P., Querner U.(2004) Satellite tracking lesser flamingo movements in the Rift Valley, East Africa: Pilot Study Report.  Ostrich 75: 57-65

Harper D.M., Childress R.B., Harper M.M., Boar R.R., Hickley P., Mills S.C., Otieno N., Drane T., Vareschi E., Nasirwa O., Mwatha W.E., Darlington J.P.E.C., Excuté-Gasulla X. (2003) Aquatic biodiversity and saline lakes:  Lake Bogoria National Reserve, Kenya.  Hydrobiologia 500: 259-276

Håkan Tarras-Wahlberg , David Harper and Nils Tarras-Wahlberg (2003) A first limnological description of Lake Kichiritith, Kenya: a possible reference site for the freshwater lakes of the Gregory Rift Valley, South African Journal of Science 99, 494

Becht R & Harper D.M. Towards an understanding of human impact upon the hydrology of lake Naivasha. Hydrobiologia, 2002: 488, 1-11.

Grey J & Harper DM (2002) Using stable isotope analyses to identify allochthonous inputs to Lake Naivasha mediated via the hippopotamus gut. Isotopes Environ. Health Stud. Vol 38(4), pp. 245-250

Kitaka, N. Harper, D.M. Pacini N. & Mavuti, K. Chemical characteristics, with particular reference to phosphorus, of the rivers draining into Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia, 2002: 488, 57-71.

R. Brooks Childress, Leon A. Bennun & David M.Harper, Population changes in sympatric Great and Long-tailed Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo and P. africanus): the effects of niche overlap or environmental change? Hydrobiologia 488: 163–170, 2002

Mark Everard, Jacqueline A. Vale, David M.Harper& Håkan Tarras-Wahlberg, The physical attributes of the Lake Naivasha catchment rivers, Hydrobiologia 488: 13–25, 2002

S. M. Gitahi, D.M.Harper,S.M.Muchiri, M.P.Tole & R. N. Ng’ang’a, Organochlorine and organophosphorus pesticide concentrations in water, sediment, and selected organisms in Lake Naivasha (Kenya), Hydrobiologia 488: 123–128, 2002

Harper, D.M., Smart, A.C., Coley, S., Schmitz, S., North, R., Adams, C., Obade P. & Mbogo K., Distribution and abundance of the Louisiana red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii Girard at Lake Naivasha, Kenya between 1987 and 1999. Hydrobiologia, 2002: 488, 143-151.

Phil Raburu, Kenneth M. Mavuti,David M.Harper & Frank L.Clark. Population structure and secondary productivity of Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri (Claparede) and Branchiura sowerbyi Beddard in the profundal zone of Lake Naivasha, Kenya, Hydrobiologia 488: 153–161, 2002

Andrew C. Smart, David M.Harper, François Malaisse, Sophie Schmitz, Stephanie Coley & Anne-Christine Gouder de Beauregard, Feeding of the exotic Louisiana red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (Crustacea, Decapoda), in an African tropical lake: Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 129–142, 2002.

Håkan Tarras-Wahlberg, Mark Everard & David M.Harper, Geochemical and physical characteristics of river and lake sediments at Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 27–41, 2002.

Harper, D.M., Harper, M.M., Virani, M.A., Smart, A.C., Childress, R.B., Adatia, R., Henderson, I. & Chege, B. Population fluctuations and their causes in the African Fish Eagle, (Haliaeetus vocifer (Daudin)) at Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia, 2002: 488, 153-161.

R.R. Boar &David M.Harper. Magnetic susceptibilities of lake sediment and soils on the shoreline of Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 81–88, 2002

C. S. Adams,R.R.Boar, D. S. Hubble, M. Gikungu,D.M.Harper, P. Hickley & N. Tarras-Wahlberg. The dynamics and ecology of exotic tropical species in floating plant mats: Lake Naivasha, Kenya.Hydrobiologia 2002 488: 115–122.

Phil Hickley, Roland Bailey, David M. Harper, Rodrick Kundu, Mucai Muchiri, Rick North & Andy Taylor, The status and future of the Lake Naivasha fishery, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 181–190, 2002.

David S. Hubble & David M.Harper, Phytoplankton community structure and succession in the water column of Lake Naivasha, Kenya: a shallow tropical lake. Hydrobiologia 488: 89–98, 2002

David S. Hubble & David M.Harper, Nutrient control of phytoplankton production in Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Hydrobiologia 488: 99–105, 2002.

Pacini N. & Harper D.M. Biodiversity and conservation of Afrotropical wetland invertebrates. In Biodiversity in Wetlands: Assessment, Function and Conservation. Volume 2. Eds. B. Gopal, W. Junk & J.A. Davies, pp 133-156, 2001 Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands

Pacini, N. & Harper, D.M. River conservation in central and tropical Africa. In Global Perspectives on River Conservation: Science, Policy and Practice. Eds. P.J.Boon, B.R.Davies & G.E.Petts, pp 155-178, 2000. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.  

Kemp J.L., Harper D.M. &.Crosa G.A.. Habitat-scale ecohydraulics of rivers. Ecological Engineering, 2000: 16, 17-3