James Leonard Lusana

Current research

My interest in fish diversity, ecology, and evolution dates back to my childhood in Mwanza, Tanzania, along Lake Victoria. Nothing was more exciting than going to the lake to catch fish at the time. The frequent catches of cichlids, catfishes, and lungfish fascinated me and obsessively inspired my career path.

Lake Tanganyika is unique among the African Great Lakes because of its notable catfishes’ diversity, which has several independent radiations, similar to cichlids from the same lake but on a smaller scale. However, while the cichlids of the lake are very well known and studied as role models in evolutionary biology and ecology, most of the non-cichlids including catfishes are understudied, often undescribed and their interfamilial relationships remain controversial and not fully resolved. There is also a lot of curiosity regarding catfishes’ ecology and evolution. During my PhD, I will investigate catfish diversity, ecology, and evolution in Lake Tanganyika and its major streams using morphological (2D X- ray and 3D μCT morphometric images), ecological (stable isotopes, gut content and microbiome metagenome) and molecular (COI and WGS ) tools.

Curriculum vitae

2022 -

PhD candidate at Department of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Technology of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Zoological Institute of the University of Basel, Switzerland.

PhD thesis: A phylogenetic and genomic perspective on the diversity, ecology, and evolution of catfishes in Lake Tanganyika and adjacent major streams. Supervisor: Prof. Walter Salzburger.

2016 – 2018 MSc in Marine Biology at Zhejiang Ocean University, China

Master thesis: Assessing the ichthyoplankton community structure in the Oujiang River Estuary and Yueqing Bay by using high throughput DNA metabarcoding. Supervisor: Prof. Yongjiu Chen.

2012 - 2015

BSc (Honors) in Fisheries and Aquaculture at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.