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International Journal of Zoology and Research (IJZR) ISSN 22788816 Vol. 3, Issue 1, Mar 2013, 17-26 TJPRC Pvt.

. Ltd.

CHANDRAKIRAN & KULDEEP K. SHARMA Department of Zoology, University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, India

The dynamics of sediment properties like organic matter, composition of sand, silt, & clay and temperature were studied in relation to the macrobenthic community assemblage for a period of 2 years in a lower Himalayan lake, Mansar. Lacustrine sediments are dominated by sand fraction (70.39% 4.64) with low values of organic matter (1.91% - 3.45%) throughout the period of study. The different particle size classes viz. sand, silt and clay are linearly and significantly associated with each other while only the non-parametric association was determined among the sediment properties and macrobenthic fauna. Present studies emphasizes that sediment temperature, organic matter and silt showed a significant negative impact while sand a positive impact on the macrobenthic abundance in lakeMansar.

KEYWORDS: Sediment Characteristics, Macrobenthic Invertebrates, Chironomidae, Himalayan Lake, Parametric

Relation, Non-Parametric Relation

Himalayan region is blessed with several natural freshwater lacustrine ecosystems and Lake Mansar is one among them. It is an important Ramsar site which serves as a source of water for drinking and irrigation as well as ecological sink and climate stabilizer for the whole geographical region. Being situated along the Palearctic-Oriental migratory route of several migratory birds like Fulicaatra, Gallinulachloropus, Podicepsnigricollis, AythyaFuligula and Anas sp., Lake Mansaroffer breeding and nursing grounds for them. As a part of the rich biodiversity of Lake Mansar, macrobenthic invertebrates also occupy an important place because in benthic environments these communities can convert low quality, low energy detritus into better quality food for higher trophic levels including birds in case of present lake (Ivlev, 1939; McIntire et al., 1964 and Tenoreet al., 1977). Macrobenthos includes organisms that either live in association with substrate-water interface (Hutchinson, 1993) or colonize the benthic zone of freshwater ecosystems for at least a part of their life cycle (Rosenberg and Resh, 1993).Macrobenthic species composition (qualitative & quantitative) in a lake ecosystem is a function of sedimentproperties which is in turn related to a wider set of environmental variables (Gray, 1974; Creutzberget al., 1984; Buchanan, 1984; Snelgrove&Butman, 1994 and Hoey, 2004).However, according to Strayer (2009), the most important factors causing variations inzoobenthic composition and abundance within a lake includes sediment grain size and its compaction, quality & quantity of organic matter and temperature in addition to water depth and dissolved oxygen. Ideally, both the macrobenthic invertebrates and its substratum form an inseparable functional unit in lakes. Present study was conducted in a sub-tropical lower Himalayan LakeMansarwhich was always being neglected for the biodiversity evaluation and conservation programs in J&K State. This study was first of its kind for Lake Mansarprimarily focusing on the study of relationship between macroinvertebrates and sediments. The study was conducted for a period of two years with prime objectives as: (1) to study the macrobenthic invertebrate community


Chandrakiran & Kuldeep K. Sharma

composition over a period of time, (2) analyzinglake sediment characteristics like sediment particle size distribution, organic matter content and temperature and (3) evaluation of association of various macrobenthic invertebrate groups with those sediment variables. This study would be of immense value on a global scale as Lake Mansar with its highly diverse catchment area (with forest, agricultural land, human habitation, wild life sanctuary etc.) can serve as model to assess how the sediment dynamics in lakes with sub-tropical climate could shape up the macrobenthic assemblage.

Study Site Lake Mansar is a Ramsar site and one among the oldest lakes of Jammu and Kashmir, India (Fig.1). It is a rural lake located in the foothills of lower Shivalik Himalayan ranges (75511.5 to 75512.5E longitude and 324058.5 to 324059.2 N latitude) with an altitude of 666m above MSL. It is a closed,non-drainage lake with a circumference of 3.4 Km and maximum depth of 38.25 m. The entire catchment area is about 2000 ha with two distinct domains i.e. hills and plains, each having its own characteristic land forms like forest canopy, wild life sanctuary agricultural farms and human habitation. It receives sediment from the lower Shivalik ranges which is highly prone erosion due to geological and tectonic set up (sedimentation rate is 0.14-0.34 cm/year; NIH, 1997). Being of religious and cultural importance the lake has been facing a very high anthropogenic pressure in terms of various religious practices, increased tourism and developmental activities like construction of roads, buildings etc. near the immediate vicinity of lake. For thorough sampling of macrobenthos and sediments, lake littoral regions were selectedall along the lake circumferencebecause these zones are highly dynamic with respect to receiving materials from the watersheds and any change in its ecology would have a more immediate effect on the community of benthic invertebrates. The lake vegetation hasbeen restricted to a few patches characterized by Polygoniumbarbatum, Polygoniumglabrum, Alternantherasessilis, Nymphoidesindicum, N. cristatum, Potamogetoncrispus, P. lucens and P. natans. Lake is also inhabited by artificially introduced carps (Cyprinuscarpio,Ctenopharyngodonidella, Cyprinuscatla) and other native fishes (Puntiussps.,Channasps. etc.). Sediment Sampling and Analysis Sediment sampling was done with the help of a 0.023 m2 Petite Ponar Grab sampler. The temperature of sediment samples were immediately noted down with the help of a thermometer and then placed on ice prior to permanently storage (4C). These sediment samples were used to measure a suite of physic-chemical properties (sand, silt, clay and organic matter). Excess of water was removed from the samples and contents were homogenized using a Jar mill. Air dried sediment samples were used to determine particle size by using ASTM 152H-Type Hydrometerand organic matter content (OM) using Walkely-Black method (Walkely and Black, 1934). Benthic Sampling Macrobenthic invertebrate fauna were sampled in triplicate from the areas adjacent to sediment sampling site using a 0.023 m2 Petite Ponar Grab sampler. Thus, the sedimentary properties and faunal elements were matched in each replicate by being taken from the same location. The samples were rinsed through a standard sieve no. 40 (256 meshes/cm2) following Edmondson and Winberg (1971) and preserved in 10% formalin (v/V). Then, samples were again washed in laboratory and re-preserved in 70% ETOH (v/V) for long term storage. Preserved samples were stained with Rose-Bengal solution and hand-picked using a 2X magnification lens. Dissecting (5X-15X) and stereoscopic (7X-45X) microscopes were used to identify individual organisms to the lowest possible taxa (Ward and Whipple, 1959; Tonapi, 1980; Merritt & Cummins, 1996 and Tachetet al., 2000). Some of the insect specimens were identified by IARI, New Delhi, India.

Sediment Characteristics as One Environmental Cue to Influence Macrobenthic Community Composition of Lower Himalayan Lake Mansar (India)


Statistical Analysis Descriptive statistical analysis including calculation of mean and standard deviation was done by using Microsoft excel, 2010 version. Relationship between the sediment characteristics was evaluated by Pearsons Correlation Coefficient (r) while between benthic groups and sediment variable using Spearman-Rank Correlation (). Both the parametric and non-parametric coefficients were calculated using SPSS 15.0 software. Levels of probability are noted at p0.01 and p0.05.

Abiotic Parameters During the present study, in order to comprehend the relationship of bottom sediments with lake macrobenthic community, we focus primarily on the overall average values for the physico-chemical parameters of sediments. In fig. 2, it is clearly depicted that sand (70.39% 3.34) was the dominant fraction in the soil granulometry followed by silt (19.5% 2.72) and clay (9.94% 2.51) componentsboth of which are closely related as suggested by significant values for pearsonscorrelation coefficients (r=0.55, p0.01, n=24) (Table 1 & 2). On the other hand, sand fraction was negatively correlated with both silt (r=-0.89, p0.01, n=24) and clay (r=-0.87, p0.01, n=24) proportions in the sediments of Lake Mansar. Sediment temperature showed great seasonal variability (15.55C-31.25C) with recorded peak values in summers. Organic matter content in the lake sediment was recorded quite low and ranged from 1.91% to 3.45% with minor oscillations in the values for whole of the study period (Table 1). The correlation study revealed that the organic matter in lake sediments was significantly correlated with sand (r= -0.86, p0.01, n=24), silt (r= 0.75, p0.01, n=24) and clay (r=0.75, p0.01, n=24) (Table 2). Macroinvertebrate A total of 32 invertebrate taxa were recorded from the Lake Mansar over a period of 24 months (March, 2009February, 2011) (Table 3). From the fig. 3a it is clearly visible that the phylum Annelida (1%) was the rare contributor while Diptera (74%) and Hemiptera (18%) of Class-Insecta dominated the macrobenthicfauna in the lake. Annelida was recorded only in the first year of study in the month of July (1.9%) and September (34.07%). Changes in invertebrate density showed an increase in the fall followed by recorded peak in winters. The same trend replicated in the successive year although the magnitude of rise was lower as compared to first year. In contrast, the population density dropped during monsoon period which extended from July to August/September in both the years (Fig. 4). Fig. 4depicted the seasonal cycle of average macrobenthic abundance and of different groups ofthe community for whole of the investigative duration which indeed convey that the Dipteran population very closely follow the average macrobenthic population with a relative abundance varying from 65% -95% during the fall and winter months (Fig. 3b). However, during the low density phase,Ephemeropterans (17.64%-50.9%) and Hemipterans(32.05%-72.91%) showed higher relative abundance (Fig. 3b). On the other hand, Coleopterans (0%-5.9%) showed relatively less variability in its population with a low incidence (0%5.9%) during the entire period.The group Odonatawas recorded comparatively low relative abundance (14.94%-27.45%) but show peak in the monsoon season. Table 2 & 4 showed the values for Karl Pearson Correlation coefficient (r) and Spearman Rank correlation coefficient (). From the table 2 it is clear that the average benthic abundance showed a negative significant pearson correlation with the temperature (r=-0.44, p0.05, n=24) while rest of the r values are low and often not significant. While non-parametric Spearman Rank correlation study indicated significant correlationsof benthos with sand (=0.56, p0.05, n=24), silt (=-0.47, p0.05, n=24), temperature (=-0.44, p0.05, n=24) and organic matter (=-0.41, p0.05, n=24).


Chandrakiran & Kuldeep K. Sharma

Among the individual groups, Diptera and Coleoptera showed significant correlations () with sand, silt, temperature and organic matter. Diptera showed highly significant negative relation with temperature (=-0.516, p0.01, n=24). Other groups likeAnnelida, Ephemeroptera, Odonata and Hemipterashowed insignificant relationships with the sediment characteristics.

The study of sediment characteristics of Lake Mansar revealed that the occurrence of higher sand fraction throughout the period of investigation is probably due to the higher rate of soil erosion/recession along the catchment area which is facing deforestation activities by the locals. Moreover, human interferences like construction of pavement along the lake circumference, continuous boating activities and removal of most of the riparian vegetation might also resulted in the increment of sand in littoral regions of lake. Rukavina (1972) also suggested that erosion of glacial sediments is the primary source of sand in Lake Ontario. The highly significant positive linear relationships observed between the organic matter and two particle size classes i.e. silt and clay is due to the strong physical association of organic matter with the mineral matrix of sediment as is recorded by workers like Mayer (1994), Bergamaschiet al. (1997) and Konenet al. (2003). Konenet al. (2003) noticed a strong positive correlation of organic components of soil with clay (r2=0.71) and silt (r2=0.75). Different aspects of sediments had a varying impact in determining the structure and complexity of macrobenthic communities of any lake, reservoir or stream as they are generally categorized as substrate dependent communities. Present studies on a lower Himalayan lake revealed that although linear relationships (as predicted by Karl Pearson Correlation) between benthos and physico-chemical variables of lake sediments is not highly suggestive but non-parametric Spearman Rank correlation notably indicated that sand, silt, temperature and organic matter are known to influence the macrobenthic abundance to fairly good extent. Mean macrobenthic density of lakeMansar correlated positively with sand and negatively with silt component of sediments. Though most of the groups of macrobenthic invertebrate recorded a negative relation with silt but it is significant only for Diptera (=-0.461, p0.05, n=24)) and Coleoptera (=-0.700, p0.01, n=24) which recorded positive association with sand. Granulometry or particle size composition plays a highly important role in structuring the aquatic macro-invertebrate community (Cummins &Lauff; 1969 and Gayraud& Philippe; 2001). Increase in silt adversely impact macrobenthic community primarily because its deposition in the rock crevices, between pebbles and soil interstices induce physical clogging of sediments and biological colmation through excessive growth of biofilm (Dahmet al., 1998 &Brunke, 1999) leading to decrease in oxygen concentrations and reduction of microhabitats also (Sarriquetet al., 2007). On the other hand, the addition of coarse sediments on the bottom of water bodies increases surface water-interstitial water interaction, and thus has a positive effect on aquatic invertebrates (Moutkaet al., 2002 &Gayraud and Philippe, 2003). Lake Mansar is primarily a sand rich system being organically poor and so lacking the organic matter loving groups like oligochaetes. Most of the macrobenthic groups (Hemiptera, Coleptera, Ephemeroptera and Odonata) are either epifaunal or partially infaunal thus any increase in the sediment organic matter would probably alter the sediment-water interface properties especially related to the oxygen conditions (decline in oxygen) causing a drop in the macrobenthic population. Such a relation was clearly reflected during the present study as indicated by negative and significant coefficient of spearman correlation between organic matter and macrobenthic population. Since from the sediment data, it is obvious that organic matter was more efficient than the grain size in explaining the composition and the density of invertebrate assemblage as also highlighted by Culp et al. (1983).

Sediment Characteristics as One Environmental Cue to Influence Macrobenthic Community Composition of Lower Himalayan Lake Mansar (India)


The significant relationship of benthos with sediment temperature as a factor have made it much clear that temperature is one of the most important parameter for the distribution and ecology of macrofauna in lakes. The negative association of sediment temperature and macrobenthos may be due to the fact that with increase in temperature the larval forms of various insect groups have tendency to molt in the successive instars and thereby into adult terrestrial forms resulting in decline in their abundance in bottom sediments. This observation may draw support from the findings of Yildizet al. (2005) who also suggested that generally the emergence of dipteran larvae occur in summer months thereby decreasing the abundance and species diversity during the period of greater temperature. Sanders and Hessler (1969) and Joydas (2002) also reported temperature as a factor responsible for the distribution and population dynamics of macrobenthic invertebrates. According to Hynes (1970), Sweeney (1984), Watanabe et al. (1999) and Haidekker and Hering (2008) temperature is an important environmental variable in determining life cycle characteristics (embryonic development, nymphal growth, emergence, metabolism and survivorship) of many taxa in different water bodies. Haidekker and Hering (2008) found in their studies that population of B. alpinus is negatively correlated to temperature but in general they have reported that though temperature play a crucial role for community composition of macrobenthic invertebrates in water bodies but there can either be a positive or negative impact on different taxa depending upon their specific life history strategies. So, from the present study on lacustrine macrobenthic community of a lower Himalayan lake, we can conclude that these communities are potentially substrate/sediment driven. Also, the macrobenthic invertebrates which generally occupy microhabitat near the surface of sediment layers (infaunal groups) like Diptera (dominated by chironomidae) were comparatively more affected by the sediment properties rather than the epifaunal components. As a concluding remark from present investigation we can certainly suggest that initially sediment texture determines the nature of community establishment as a particular site and then later on other factors play their respective roles in controlling the populations of those groups.

We are thankful to the Department of Zoology, University of Jammu and Department of Soil science, Sher-aKashmir University of Science and Technology, Jammu for providing the necessary laboratory facilities to accomplish the project. We also acknowledge Department of Zoology, University of Jammu (India) for the financial assistance provided during the project.

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Sediment Characteristics as One Environmental Cue to Influence Macrobenthic Community Composition of Lower Himalayan Lake Mansar (India)


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effect.Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual review, 32, 111-177. 28. Strayer, D. L.(2009). Benthic invertebrate fauna, lakes and reservoir.In: Lake ecosystem: a global prespective: a derivative of Encyclopedia. G.E Likens (ed.).Elsevier Publisher Inc. 30-40. 29. Sweeney, B. W.(1984). Factors influencing life-history patterns of aquatic insects.In:The Ecology of aquatic insect.V.Resh&D. M.Rosenberg (Eds.), Praeger Publishers New York, 56100. 30. Tachet, H., Richoux, P., Bournaud, M.&Usseglio-Polatera, P.(2000).Invertebratesdeaudouce. Systematique, Biologie, Ecologie, CNRS Editions, Paris, 588p. 31. Tenore K R, Tietjan JH and Lee J J 1977 Effect of meiofauna on incorporation aged eel grass, Zostreamarina detritus by the polycheateNeththys; India. J. Fish. Bd. Can. 34 563-565. 32. Tonapi, G. T.(1980). Freshwater invertebrates of India (an ecological approach). IBH and Oxford Publications, New Delhi, India. 33. Walkley, A.& Black, I. A.(1934). An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining organic carbon in soils: Effect of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil Sci., 63, 251-263. 34. Ward, H. D. & Whipple, G. C. (1959).Freshwater biology.John wiley and Sons. Inc., NewYork. 35. Watanabe, N. C., Mori, I.& Yoshitaka, I.(1999). Effect of water temperature on the mass emergence of the mayfly, Ephoronshigae, in a Japanese river (Ephemeroptera: Polymitaryidae).Freshwater Biology, 41, 537541. 36. Yildiz, S.,Tasdemir, A., Ozbek, M., Balik, S.&Ustaoglu, M. R.(2005).Macrobenthic invertebrate fauna of Lake Egrigol (Gundogmus- Antalya).Turk. J. Zool., 29, 275-282.

Table 1: Minimum, Maximum, Mean and Standard Deviation of Physico-Chemical Variables of Lake Sediments and Macrobenthic Invertebrate Groups from March, 2009-February, 2011 in Lake Mansar Parameters Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Sed. Temp. (C) Organic Matter (%) Minimum 63.2425 14.445 5.4 15.55 1.91 Maximum 78.525 24.5275 13.255 31.25 3.4525 MeanSD 70.394.64 19.562.72 9.942.5 24.125.7 2.490.44


Chandrakiran & Kuldeep K. Sharma

Table 1: Contd., Parameters Macrobenthos (Org./m2) Annelids (Org./m2) Ephemeroptera (Org./m2) Diptera (Org./m2) Odonata (Org./m ) Hemiptera (Org./m2) Coleoptera (Org./m )
2 2

Minimum 58.5 0 0 0 0 13.75 0

Maximum 5177.25 344.25 83.25 4662 69.75 785.25 67.5

MeanSD 1049.921168.4 14.4470.25 31.4126.65 776.481077.9 22.517.4 187.93194.6 17.1618.24

Table 2: Karl Pearsons Correlation (R) Between Sediment Physico-Chemical Variables and Macrobenthic Invertebrate Groups (N=24) Sand Sand Silt Clay Organic matter Sed. temp. Benthos Annelida Ephemeroptera Diptera Odonata Hemiptera -0.88** -0.86** -0.86

Silt 0.54* 0.78



Organic Matter

Sed. Temp.

0.71** 0.17 -0.17 0.05 0.01 -0.15 -0.14 0.06 -0.31 -0.13 0 -0.24 0.01 -0.44* 0.19 -0.13 -0.49* -0.07 0.05 -0.21

-0.28 0.22 0.07 0.04 0.17 0.03 0.31

0.35 -0.29 -0.17 -0.05 -0.23 0.09

-0.36 -0.15 -0.4 Coleoptera 0.49* -0.41 -0.51* 0.47* *significant at 5% level and ** at 1% level of significance

Table 3: List of Macrobenthic Taxa Recorded in Lake Mansar (March, 2009 to February, 2011) Class Clitella
Hirudinae Insecta

Haplotaxida Gnathobdellida Ephemeroptera

Tubificidae Glossiphonidae Caenidae Baetidae

Tubifextubifex Helobdella sp. Caenis sp. Baetis sp. Chironomous sp. Tanypus sp. Penteura sp.





Tabanus sp. Culicoides sp. Eristalis sp. Ophiogomphus sp. Lestes sp. Sphaerodemamolestrum Laccotrephesmaculates



Heleidae Syrphidae Gomphidae Lestidae Hemiptera Belostomatidae Nepidae

Sediment Characteristics as One Environmental Cue to Influence Macrobenthic Community Composition of Lower Himalayan Lake Mansar (India)


Table 3: Contd.,



Ranatraelongata Micronectaproba Micronectastriata

Gerridae Hydrometridae Mesovelidae

Gerris sp. Hydrometravittata Mesovelia sp. Anisopssardea Plea buenoi Hypophorus sp. Laccophilusparvulus Canthydrus sp. Bidessus sp. Cybister sp.



Notonectidae Pleidae Dytiscidae


Sternolophusrufipus Regimbartia sp. Berosus sp. Halochares sp.


Paederus sp.

Table 4: Spearman-Rank Correlation () Between Macrobenthic Invertebrate Groups and Physico-Chemical Variables of Lake Sediments (N=24) Sand Silt Clay Sed.Temp p p p p Benthos 0.36 0.08 -0.47 0.01 -0.26 0.22 -0.45 0.03 Annelida -0.1 0.58 0.07 0.74 0.15 0.48 0.24 0.26 Ephemeroptera 0.06 0.78 -0.10 0.66 0.05 0.80 -0.07 0.74 Diptera 0.40 0.05 -0.46 0.02 -0.32 0.13 -0.52 0.01 Odonata 0.05 0.82 -0.06 0.76 -0.18 0.41 -0.23 0.27 Hemiptera 0.13 0.53 -0.31 0.13 0.03 0.88 -0.09 0.66 Coleoptera 0.60 0.002 -0.70 0.0001 -0.33 0.11 -0.43 0.04 p-values below 0.05 are significant at 5% and 0.01 at 1% level of significance. OM p -0.41 0.04 0.14 0.52 -0.03 0.88 -0.42 0.04 -0.10 0.63 -0.26 -0.21 -0.54 0.007


Figure 1: Map of Study Area Showing Highly Varied Catchment Domains in the Lake Watershed


Chandrakiran & Kuldeep K. Sharma

Figure 2: Distribution of Different Particle size Class (Sand, Silt & Clay) in the Lake Sediments During the Study Period (March, 2009 to February, 2011) .

Figure 3: a) Overall Percentage Contribution of Different Groups in Total Macrobenthic Abundance and b) Monthly Variations in the Relative Abundance of those Groups in Lake Mansar over a Period of March, 2009 to February, 2011

Figure 4: Monthly Variations and Relative in the Density of Macrobenthic Invertebrates and Contributing Groups in Lake Mansar for a Period of March, 2009 to February, 2011. (An-Annelida, TE-Ephemeroptera, TD-Diptera, TO-Odonata , TH-Hemiptera, TC-Coleoptera).