Modelling nitrogen transformation in the Lake Bunyonyi ecosystem, South‑Western Uganda


Lake Bunyonyi is one of the major resources of social-economic potential in the districts of Rubanda and Kabale, South- Western Uganda. The lake’s sub-catchment faces environmental problems because of intensive agriculture, settlement, business and tourism activities, which consequently cause pollution of water in the lake’s system. This study, therefore, intended to determine the processes that govern nitrogen dynamism using a numerical model that takes into account various processes in the system using STELLA® 8.1.1 software. From the model simulation, it was found that mineralization, microbial uptake and nitrification were the major processes governing nitrogen transformation in the water phase, accounting for 47.8% (0.49 g/d m−2), 44.2% (0.45 g/d m−2), and 7.8% (0.05 g/d m−2), respectively. The developed model predicted reasonably well the behaviour of the lake evidenced by the validation results of observed and simulated data that showedgood linear regression coefficients (R2) of organic nitrogen (0.48), ammonia–nitrogen (0.68), and nitrate–nitrogen (0.61). The model has proven suitable for application on lakes with characteristics similar to that of Lake Bunyonyi. The study recommended that a compressive investigation that puts into consideration all the possible sources of nutrient and water inflow into the lake system be done on Lake Bunyonyi.



Denitrification · Lake Bunyonyi · Mineralization · Nitrification and nitrogen dynamics