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Two lakes lie in a caldera at the top of Jebel Marra. One is shallow and highly saline, with a dense bloom of planktonic blue-green algae and a zooplankton consisting entirely of rotifers. The other is over 100 metres deep, is less saline, with a sparse phytoplankton of diatoms, and the dominant zooplankter is Eucyclops gibsoni. The marginal fauna of the deep lake includes a number of widespread insects, but is unusual in that it includes an aquatic glowworm (Family Lampyridae).

In the shallow lake there is a superabundance of oxygen in the upper two metres, but no oxygen below six metres, except when strong winds mix the lake so that there is then about 40% saturation throughout the water column. In the deep lake it was found that after strong winds there was only about 12% saturation in the top 30 metres of water. The restricted fauna of these lakes appears to be a result of the combined effects of isolation, salinity and a variable oxygen regime.