Lake Malawi diversity driven by environmental change

lake malawi

Lake Malawi cichlids at Georgia Aquarium. Photo by Fredlyfish4 CC by 3.0

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that environmental change, specifically periods of deep water, created the right conditions for diversification in Lake Malawi.

According to the study, Lake Malawi’s blue phase periods, characterized by deep clear water, coincide with periods of rapid diversification in cichlid species. These blue phases were separated by green phases in which the water was shallow and murky. The longest blue phase periods began 750,000, 400,000 and 70,000 years ago, the same times as large diversification events. The study is behind a paywall but a summary can be found on the PHYS.org website. Visit the Lake Malawi Species forum to discuss.

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