Planktonic diatoms as indicators of water quality of river kisat (lake Victoria catchment), Kenya
Rivers are fresh water bodies that play an important role in the livelihood of human population as they provide major ecosystem services mainly high biological diversity and flood plain vegetation. They are also major sources of water for both domestic and industrial use. They are however faced with threats due to pollution. Rivers that form the Lake Victoria catchment are majorly affected by anthropogenic activities within the water shed attributed to the increasing pressure due to population growth. The result, is the change in the rivers' ecology and hence the switch in the ecological status of the rivers, impacting on water quality. Diatoms often are used as water quality bio indicators in European countries, however there is a limited use of this micro algae in most African countries yet they are suitable for quantitative research on water quality as they respond strongly to environmental changes, thus setting a base for this research topic. The study's main objective will be to use the concept in determining the ecological status of River Kisat, a river draining into Lake Victoria, using diatoms as water quality indicators. The chemical and physical aspects of the water quality will also be assessed. Sampling will be carried out monthly for five stations from February to July 2014 along the stretch of the river. Subsurface water samples will be collected to determine planktonic diatom composition in relation to spatial and environmental gradients. Field parameters (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, depth and conductivity) will be measured in situ whereas nutrient analysis will be done at the KMFRI laboratory following preservation. The results will be used to define the status of the river and predict its future.