Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

James Amon (Committee Member), Volker Bahn (Committee Member), Rebecca Teed (Committee Member), Yvonne Vadeboncoeur (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Algivorous fish remove attached algae (periphyton) from the benthos in near shore areas of lakes. Periphyton has a complex three-dimensional structure dominated by Bacillariophyta (diatoms), Chlorophyta (green algae), and Cyanophyta (cyanobacteria). These three phyla vary in nutritional quality with diatoms providing essential fatty acids that consumers need for growth and reproduction. Selection of specific phyla may be driven by nutritional quality or it may be a function accessibility due to both mouth morphology of the fish and location of the algae in the periphyton community. I investigated whether Tropheus brichardi, an algivorous cichlid of Lake Tanganyika, selectivity feeds on periphyton and how their herbivory affects the periphyton community composition. I found that T. brichardi slightly selects for diatoms although it is unclear if that selection is driven by nutritional quality or accessibility. This slight selection for diatoms did not appear to affect community composition of the periphyton.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Biology Commons