Natasha Gownaris

Natasha Gownaris

Department of Community Sustainability

University of Washington


Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Washington

I am trained as a marine ecologist but was immediately drawn to Lake Turkana after hearing about the planned development in the region and the understudied nature of the system. With the support of my advisor and the Turkana Basin Institute, I decided to make the lake the focus of my PhD, asking the question “how will Lake Turkana’s fishes and fisheries respond to upstream development?” I focused my work on how upstream development would impact the lake’s absolute water level and seasonal water level fluctuations – and how these changes would in turn influence the breeding, feeding, and habitat of the lake’s fishes and consequently the productivity of the lake’s fisheries. I answered these questions using a combination of field work, literature review, regression models, stable isotope analyses, food web models, and geographic information systems models. There is still much to be learned about the lake’s fishes and fisheries.


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