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Biodiveristy and Conservation

Biodiveristy and Conservation

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ORIGINAL PAPER
Inter-annual abundance variation in some generaof diatom and zooplankton in a mangrove ecosystem
Chumki Chowdhury
Natasha Majumder
Raghab Ray
Tapan Kumar Jana
Received: 5 January 2012/Accepted: 26 April 2012/Published online: 15 May 2012
Ó
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
Abstract
This study presents data for the abundance of phytoplankton and zooplanktonand related habitat parameters for Lothian Island mangrove ecosystem located at thecoastal boundary of the Ganges River delta. Over the 3 study years, total abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton was lowest during the monsoon period. In 2008, the mostcommon diatom genera (by % relative abundance) were
Skeletonema
cf.
costatum
(14.2),
Thalassiothrix
(9.36),
Nitzschia sigma
(8.16),
Coscinodiscus radiatus
(7.65),
Chaetoceros
(6.64),
Pleurosigma
(3.05),
Thalassionema
(1.77),
Ditylum brightwellii
(1.71), and
Cyclotella
(1.0), whereas in 2010 they were
Skeletonema
cf 
. costatum
(41.7),
Chaetoceros
(11.1),
Thalassiothrix
(6.04),
Nitzschia sigma
(4.49),
Coscinodiscus radiatus
(3.96),
Cyclotella
(2.61),
Thalassionema
(2.11),
Pleurosigma
(1.22) and,
Ditylum brightwellii
(1.01). Relative abundance of the zooplankton size classes typically followed the ordermeso
[
micro
[
macro and Copepods were the most abundant taxa (54.6 % of totalzooplankton abundance). Total abundance of both phyto and zooplankton almost doubledin 2010 relative to 2008 although the ratio of the two remained constant (Zooplankton:phytoplankton
=
0.002). The N:P ratio of water did not change much over the study anddid not seem to be responsible for phytoplankton abundance changes; rather interannualvariations in phytoplankton abundance could be explained by a simple predator–prey-relationship with zooplankton.
Keywords
Phytoplankton
Á
Zooplankton
Á
Nutrient
Á
Prey–predator interaction
Á
Sundarbans mangrove
Á
India
Introduction
There is growing evidence that ongoing climate change and anthropogenic activities areintroducing stressors to the coastal environment, which affect the ecobiology of phyto-plankton (Walsh1991; Cloern1996; NRC2000). Bottom-up and top-down controls in
C. Chowdhury
Á
N. Majumder
Á
R. Ray
Á
T. K. Jana (
&
)Department of Marine Science, Calcutta University, 35, B. C. Road, Kolkata 700019, Indiae-mail: tkjana@hotmail.com
 123
Biodivers Conserv (2012) 21:2029–2043DOI 10.1007/s10531-012-0295-1
 
terms of nutrient loading and grazing can alter phytoplankton species composition and sizestructure (Roelke et al.1999; Micheli1999; Sipura et al.2003). Such shifts in the primary producer community could cascade through food web, affecting consumer food-webdynamics, and thus the flow of carbon and energy through the trophic levels. It is thereforecritical to understand better the trophic linkages between phytoplankton and zooplanktoncommunities.The Bay of Bengal is a dynamic environment exhibiting a range of coastal features andbiogeochemical properties. The high human population density and rapid economic growthof the countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal make the coastal environment vulnerable toa range of anthropogenic stress factors (Alory et al
.
2007; Ganguly et al
.
2008). In par-ticular, in the northeastern region of the Bay of Bengal, the estuarine system is dominatedby the highly productive Sundarbans mangroves ecosystem, which is known for itscomplex biogeochemical processes (Biswas et al
.
2004) and pronounced monsoonal effectson seasonal phytoplankton abundance patterns (Biswas et al.2010). The Ganges–Brah-maputra estuary is particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic perturbation due to highnutrient loads from river discharges (Seitzinger et al
.
2005; Mukhopadhyay et al.2006). The Sundarban mangrove forest is a sink for CO
2
(4.71–6.54 Mg C ha
-
1
year
-
1
) with4.85 Mg C ha
-
1
year
-
1
of litter production (Ray et al.2011), and substantial nutrientrecycling from the microbial degradation of litter (Gordon et al
.
1996).The major hypothesis of this study is that maintaining a stable phytoplankton–zoo-plankton (i.e., prey–predator) relationship will make this ecosystem less vulnerable to theafore-mentioned changes and could be used as a management strategy for climate change(Hannah2011). To evaluate this hypothesis, we characterized inter and intra annual pat-terns in the phytoplankton and zooplankton communities associated with the Sundarbanmangroves, used these data to develop a second-order non-linear difference equationsmodels of predator–prey dynamics for several diatom genera (
Coscinodiscus radiatus
,
 Nitzschia sigma
,
Pleurosigma
,
Ditylum brightwellii
,
Thalassionema
,
Skeletonema
cf.
costatum
,
Thalassiothrix
,
Chaetoceros
,
Cyclotella
), and used these models to forecast theirpopulation change during the successive years.
Study area
The study sites are located in the Indian Sundarbans, a natural mangrove forest (21
°
32
0
22
°
45
0
N and 88
°
05
0
–89
°
E), which is part of the estuary associated with the river Ganges,on the northeast coast of the Bay of Bengal. It covers a total area of 9,630 km
2
out of which4,264 km
2
comprises intertidal habitat (Fig.1). The area is covered with thick mangroves,which can be subdivided into the forest and aquatic sub-ecosystems (1,781 km
2
). In 1985,the Indian Sundarbans was included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, and in 1989,India designated 9,360 km
2
of the Sundarbans as a biosphere reserve. The Sundarbanmangroves are the last frontier of Bengal flood plains, a sprawling archipelago of 102islands, out of which 54 are impacted. The Ganges drains much of the southern slopes of the Himalaya and delivers an enormous amount of sediment to the Bengal delta (Bhat-tathiri2001). The land ocean boundary of the north-east coast of the Bay of Bengal acrossthe Sundarbans mangrove forest is highly irregular and criss-crossed by several rivers andwater ways. There are many islands covered with thick mangrove forest which are oftencut by small shallow channels.
Avicennia
is the predominant tree genera followed by
Ceriops
,
Bruguiera
,
Rhizophora
,
Sonneratia
,
Excoecaria
,
Aegiceras, Heritiera
etc
.
andother mangrove associates like
Porteresia
and
Acanthus
. The area experiences a monsoon
2030 Biodivers Conserv (2012) 21:20292043
 123
 
season between June and September during which 70–80 % of annual rainfall typicallyoccurs. The tidal regime is semidiurnal in nature with tidal amplitude ranging from 5.2 mat spring tide to 1.8 m at neap tide. Fresh water input to the Hooghly River varies from2,952 to 11,897 m
3
s
-
1
during the monsoon, to 900–1,500 m
3
s
-
1
in non-monsoon months(Mukhopadhyay et al
.
2006).
Methods
Between January 2008 and June 2011 surface water samples were collected monthly at along-term monitoring stations (21
°
45.22
0
N and 88
°
20.45
0
E; 21
°
45.23
0
N, 88
°
18.48
0
E) at theconfluence of the Saptamukhi River and the Bay of Bengal, Lothian island (Fig.1).Samples were analyzed for phytoplankton and zooplankton numerical abundance andcomposition, and related chemical (nutrient: NH
4
?
, NO
3
-
, NO
2
-
, Si(OH)
4
, PO
4
-
3
),meteorological, and physical (temperature, salinity, Secchi depth) properties. The datacover three seasons: monsoon (June–September), post-monsoon (October–January) andpre-monsoon (February–May). The depth of the water column at the measurement sitesvaried between 9.7 and 15.2 m. Water samples were collected from surface (0.5 m) using a5-L Niskin sampler (Hydro Bios). Salinity was determined by argentometric method.Dissolved oxygen, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and silicate in the environmentwere measured following standard procedures (Grasshoff et al.1983). Duplicate watersamples (2 L) collected during high tide in the day for phytoplankton and in the night forzooplankton were preserved with Lugol’s iodine. After 48 h, supernatant of the settledsamples was removed by siphoning and concentrated to a 10 ml volume. Five sub-samplesfrom each sample concentrate were placed into Sedgewick rafter-counting chambers and
Fig. 1
Map of the Sundarban mangroves, Lothian Island, India showing location (21
°
41.63
0
N and88
°
18.18
0
E) of monitoring site at the land ocean boundary of the Bay of BengalBiodivers Conserv (2012) 21:20292043 2031
 123

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