This Costa Rican Scientist Investigates African Lake Fish Mysteries – Forbes


Costa Rican scientist Jimena Golcher-Benavides goes scuba-diving in the the world’s deepest tropical freshwater lake to study Cichlidae, simply known as cichlids, an important fish species for small-scale fisheries, aquaculture and in the global aquarium trade.

Golcher-Benavides, who is now a PhD candidate in Ecology at the University of Wyoming in the US says that her research, focused in Lake Tanganyika, seeks to answer lingering questions in evolutionary ecology such as how biodiversity originated and what the study of Lake Tanganyikan cichlids’ evolutionary history tell us about how the group became so diverse globally.

“Surveying fishes while scuba-diving in Lake Tanganyika has allowed me to gain understanding on complex species interactions, the role resource-rich environments play in supporting greater diversity,” she says, “Unfortunately, suitable habitat for fish and other aquatic fauna in the water column is shrinking due to climate warming, threatening unique species and the human livelihoods that depend on them.”

“My favorite thing about cichlids is their unusual behaviors!” she said, adding that
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