Researcher Profile

Ismael Aaron Kimirei

TAFIRI KIGOMA, Centre Director

 Ismael Aaron Kimirei

I am an Aquatic ecologist working in marine and freshwater systems, focusing on fish ecology, aquatic resources management, limnology, and climate change. I study marine ecosystems—mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs—connectivity for marine conservation and fisheries management. I am interested in how habitat degradation and change—both human and climate mediated changes—will affect the provision of ecosystem goods and services to coastal communities. Currently, I am studying the effect of climate change on fisheries productions in, and functioning of, Lake Tanganyika; and how land use and urbanization are affecting water quality in the great east African lakes.

Climate change and Lake functioning

The dynamics of primary productivity in lakes depends very much on the lake's functioning. Warmers waters cultivate for increased thermal stability and stratification; thereby making t hard for nutrients cycling to happen. My interest is to study how climate change is and will affect lakes functioning both in terms of hydrodynamics and primary productivity which had a domineering impact on fisheries production

Fish biology and ecology

The current state of the world fisheries is devastating. The catches have been declining uninterruptedly. The fisheries of the great East African Lakes are no exception and their declines are jeopardizing sustainability of ecosystem goods and services accrued from these lakes. While fisheries related factors, especially fishing effort, has been indicated to cause the declines; the biology and ecology of the fishes can also be affected by climate change and poor land use practices around the lakes. My interest is therefore to link the different factors in explaining the cause of decline and chart a way into how best to manage these important ecosystems.

Marine ecology

My main interest is to study how different ecosystems, that is mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs, are connected to each other through fish movements and carbon transport. The three ecosystems are very important at all the life stages of marine fishes. They conservation and protection is therefore important for continued supply of fish and other ecosystem goods and services. I am also interested in how climate change or continued land degradation and habitat fragmentation will affect the provision of ecosystem goods and services from these ecosystems.

DatePositionInstitution Name
2015Principal Researcher Tanzania Fisheries Research Insitute(TAFIRI)
2013Centre DirectorTanzania Fisheries Research Insitute(TAFIRI)
2003ResearcherTanzania Fisheries Research Insitute(TAFIRI)
DateInstitution NameCountryTitle
2012PhD.(Ecology) NethlandsPhD
2005M.Sc.(Zoology) TanzaniaMasters Degree
2000B.Sc.(Marine Biology and Chemistry) TanzaniaBachelor Degree

2015Kimirei IA, Nagelkerken I, Slooter N, Gonzalez ET, Huijbers CM, Mgaya YD, Rypel AL (2015) Demography of fish populations reveals new challenges in1 appraising juvenile habitat values. Marine Ecology Progress Series 518:225-237
2014Igulu MM, Nagelkerken I, Dorenbosch M, Grol MG, Harborne AR, Kimirei IA, Mumby PJ, Olds AD, Mgaya YD (2014) Mangrove Habitat Use by Juvenile Reef Fish: Meta-Analysis Reveals that Tidal Regime Matters More than Biogeographic Region. PloS one 9:e114715
2014Loiselle S., Cozar A., Adgo E., Ballatore T., Chavula G., Descy J.-P, Harper D., Kansiime F., Kimirei I.A., Langenberg V., Ma R., Sarmento H., Odada, E. (2014) Decadal Trends and Common Dynamics of the Bio-Optical and Thermal Characteristics of the African Great Lakes. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93656. doi:10.
2013Kimirei I.A., Nagelkerken I., Mgaya Y.D., Huijbers, C.M. (2013). The Mangrove Nursery Paradigm Revisited: Otolith Stable Isotopes Support Nursery-to-Reef Movements by Indo- Pacific Fishes. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66320. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066320
2013Kimirei, I. A., Nagelkerken, I., Trommelen, M., Blankers, P., Hoytema, N., Hoeijmakers, D., Huijbers, C. M., Mgaya, Y. D., Rypel, A. L. (2013). What Drives Ontogenetic Niche Shifts of Fishes in Coral Reef Ecosystems? Ecosystems 16: 783-796. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-013-9645-4
2012Ngupula, G. W., Ezekiel, C. N., Kimirei, I. A., Mboni, E., and Kashindye, B. (2012) Physical and chemical characteristics of the Tanzanian inshore and offshore waters of Lake Victoria in 2005-2008. African Journal of Aquatic Science 37(3):339-345
2011Kimirei, I. A.; Nagelkerken, I., Griffioen, B., Wagner, C., and Mgaya, Y. D. (2011). Ontogenetic habitat use by mangrove/seagrass-associated coral reef fishes shows flexibility in time and space. Estuarine, coast and Shelf Science 92:47-58
2010Descy, J.-P., Tarbe, A.-L., Stenuite, S., Pirlot, S., Stimart, J., Vanderheyden, J., Leporcq, B., Stoyneva, M.P., Kimirei, I. A., Sinyinza, and D., Plisnier, P.-D. (2010). Drivers of phytoplankton diversity in Lake Tanganyika. Hydrobiologia 653:29-44
2008Kimirei, I. A., Mgaya, Y. D., and Chande, A. I. (2008) Changes in species composition and abundance of commercially important pelagic fish species in Kigoma area, Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 11:29-35
2007Kimirei, I. A. and Mgaya, Y. D. (2007) Influence of environmental factors on seasonal changes in clupeid catches in the Kigoma area of Lake Tanganyika. African Journal of Aquatic Sciences 32: 291-298
2006Kimirei, I. A. and Mgaya, Y. D. (2006) Assessment of Lates stappersii (Centropomidae) stock in lift-net fishery in Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma, Tanzania.Tanzania Journal of Science 32:1-12
2005Chitamwebwa, D. B. R. and Kimirei, I. A. (2005). Present fish catch trends at Kigoma, Tanzania. Verhandlungen der Internationalen Vereinigung Limnologie 29:373-376.
2003Alleman, L.Y., Cardinal, D., Kimirei, I. A., Andre, L. (2003). Distribution and implication of silicon isotopic composition in marine and freshwaters. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 67, A12-A12.
2005J.-P. Descy, M.-A. Hardy, S. Stenuite, S. Pirlot, B. Leporcq, I. A. Kimirei, B. Sekadende, S.R. Mwaitega and D. Sinyenza (2005). Phytoplankton pigments and community composition in Lake Tanganyika. Freshwater Biology 50:668-684.
2005Alleman, L. Y., Cardinal, D., Cocquyt, C. C., Plisnier, P.-D., Descy, J.-P, Kimirei, I. A., Sinyenza, D., and Andre, L. (2005). Silicon isotopic fractionation in Lake Tanganyika and its main tributaries. Journal of Great Lakes Research 31:509-519
2002Descy, J.-P., P.-D. Plisnier, L. Alleman, L. Andre, D. Chitamwebwa, C. Cocquyt, E. Deleersnijder, I. A. Kimirei, J. Naithani, H. Phiri, D. Sinyenza & W. Vyverman (2002). Climate variability as recorded in Lake Tanganyika (CLIMLAKE). Bulletin of the International Decade for East African Lakes 3-5.
2009Plisnier, P.-D., Mgana, H., Kimirei, I. A., Chande, A. I, Makasa, L., Chimanga, J., Zulu, F., Cocquyt, C., Horion, S., Bergamino, N., Naithani, J., Deleersnijder, E., Andre´, L., Descy, J.-P., Cornet, Y., (2009). Limnological variability and pelagic fish abundance (Stolothrissa tanganicae and Lates stappersii) in Lake Tanganyika. Hydrobiologia 625: 117-134
2016Mziray P and Kimirei IA (2016) Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in marine fishes (Siganus sutor, Lethrinus harak, and Rastrelliger kanagurta) from Dar es Salaam Tanzania. Regional Studies in Marine Science 7:72-80. doi:10.1016/j.rsma.2016.05.014
2015Chen, S. S. and Kimirei, I. A. (Eds.) (2015) Demonstration Research on Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring in the Lake Tanganyika Basin. CSTEC and NIGLAS, Nanjing, China. 97p
Book Chapters
2016Kimirei IA, Igulu MM, Semba M, Lugendo BR. 2016. Small Estuarine and Non-Estuarine Mangrove Ecosystems of Tanzania: Overlooked Coastal Habitats? In: Diop S, Scheren P, Ferdinand Machiwa J editors. Estuaries: A Lifeline of Ecosystem Services in the Western Indian Ocean. Cham: Springer International Publishing. p. 209-226.
12015Prisca Mziray(primary supervisor Charles Lugomela; co-supervisors Ismael Kimirei, Dennis Trolle)
12013Gonzalez, E.TDo non-reef shallow habitats function as true recruitment areas for commercially important coral reef fish species in Tanzania? Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
22010Van Hoytema, N.ROntogenetic diet shifts as a possible reason for migration from nursery habitats to the coral reef by two Indo-Pacific fish species: Lutjanus fulviflamma and Siganus sutor in Tanzania. MSc Internship report, 35 pp., Radboud University Nijmegen
32010Hoeijmakers, D. Does spatial distribution of larger potential food items influence ontogenetic habitat migration of four reef fish species in Tanzania? Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
42009Wagner, C. Habitat utilization by four coral reef fish species: Ontogenetic habitat shift of generalist. Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
52009Blankers, P. Ontogenetic dietary changes as a potential trigger for cross-habitat movements by Tanzanian fish species. Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
62008Griffioen, B. Habitat utilisation of four economically important fishes: Lethrinus harak, L. lentjan, Lutjanus fulviflamma and Siganus sutor in Tanzania. Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
72008 Trommelen, M. Sexual maturation as a potential trigger for ontogenetic habitat shifts of four coral reef fish species in Tanzania. Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
82008Slooter, N. Recruitment patterns of four coral reef fish species in Tanzanian coastal ecosystems. Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Position:TAFIRI KIGOMA, Centre Director
Address:P.O. Box 90, Kigoma