West Papua Lakes

The physical and chemical conditions in tropical lakes deviate in many ways from those in temperate climate zones. However, most research still focuses on temperate lakes.

Like in most other tropical regions, very little is known about the limnology and (bio-) geochemical state of lakes in Indonesia, especially in the eastern part of the country.

Here, for the first time, we investigate the sedimentary processes and biogeochemistry of several lakes in western Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia. Two pilot campaigns were conducted in April and November 2016 to measure water column parameters like salinity, temperature, oxygen content, ionic composition and pH, as well as taking short (max 80 cm long) sediment cores. So far five lakes have been sampled, Sentani, Ayamaru, Anggi Gigi, Anggi Gida and Paniai. Currently the main focus of our study is on the first two.

The main goal of the project is to link between catchment composition and biogeochemical processes in the water column and within the sediments. The goal of this project is to provide a first set of baseline data based on which more detailed studies can be carried out to develop guidelines for managing these precious resources. Due to increased migration into West Papua from within Indonesia, these still pristine lakes without any anthropogenic disturbance are under increasing pressure as sources of water and food.

This project was made possible by a PhD fellowship by the Indonesian Ministry for Education and Technology (RISTEK) to Sulung Nomosatryo, MSc and is carried out as a collaboration between the Dept. of Limnology of the Indonesian National Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Universitas Papua in Manokwari, and GFZ.

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