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CHAPTER - FIVE

DISCUSSION

In the present investigation the heleoplankton dynamics has been studied in two
perennial ponds (pond A and pond B) at Guwahati with respect to the variation in the
physico-chemical parameters o f water. The seasonal and diurnal variation observed in
the plankton community and the physico-chemical properties o f water are quite
apparent. The change in environmental factors such as atmospheric temperature,
rainfall and light intensity bring about fluctuation in the water quality (Welch, 1952).
This in turn affects the biological components o f the aquatic ecosystem and plankton in
particular (Hutchinson, 1967). The correlations among different physico-chemical
parameters o f water and their relation to the phytoplankton and zooplankton are
discernible in the two ponds.

As expected, in this region the water temperature is found slightly less than the
atmospheric temperature. As a general trend, the water temperature follows air
temperature in context o f shallow lentic water regime o f Assam (Goswami, 1985). The
trend o f seasonal fluctuation o f water temperature is similar in the two studied ponds.
Highest water temperature is recorded in the month o f August while the lowest in the
month o f January (Table 2). The summer increase and winter decrease o f water

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temperature indicates that there is a close parallel relation between air and surface
water temperature o f the two ponds. Similar findings have also been observed by Zafar
(1956), Ganapati (1960), Sreenivasan (1964 a), Hussainy (1967), Sumitra (1967),
Lahon (1983) and Yadav (1986). Almost in all the seasons the water temperature o f
pond B is little higher than the pond A (Figure 1-A). It may be due to higher turbid
water o f pond A caused by higher density o f phytoplankton and shallowness o f pond B.
Welch (1952) described that the turbid surface water obstruct the light to penetrate
below and the bottom water does not warm up rapidly. The result also corroborates the
findings o f Hajarika and Dutta (1994) reported from this region.

In the the diel cycle o f day and night the surface water temperature o f the
studied ponds shorn a day time increase reaching the maximum at 4 pm which declines
to the minimum at 4 am (Table 25-28) due to the action o f overlying wind o f night
hours (Dye et al, 1980). As evident in the case o f seasonal variation, the diel trend of
surface water temperature also follows the air temperature pattern. It was interesting to
note that the amplitude o f diel fluctuation o f surface water temperature in pond B is
wider than the pond A in 24 hour-range, which may be due to shallowness o f pond B.
Similar finding is also reported by Ali and Khan (1976).

Transparency is an important property in aquatic habitat as a result o f which


visible solar radiation penetrates water medium reaching to the deeper parts. The
Sacchi disc transparency studies reveal that the water o f pond A is more turbid than that
o f the pond B (Figure 1-C). This may be attributed autochthonous^ to the higher
plankton density o f pond A. On the other hand the higher transparency in pond B may
be attributed to the removal of suspended solids by the free floating (Eichhomia) and
submerged littoral macrophytic stands. The water transparency in both the ponds
intends to rise in the winter period and decline during the monsoon season. This may be
due to the influx o f silt laden rain water run off from the catchments in allochthonous
process supplemented by higher phytoplankton growth in that period (Figure 9). The
correlation analysis o f transparency in both the ponds shows negative significant (p <

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0.05) relationships with rainfall and phytoplankton density (Table 21), since the
turbidity and transparency are reciprocal in their relationship. Similar relationships are
also reported earlier by a number o f workers (Larsen and Malueg, 1976; Haque et al,
1989; Gaur and Khan, 1995, Hazarika and Dutta, 1999).

A considerable difference has been observed in the pH o f the two ponds. The
higher pH value represents moderately alkaline water in pond A while in pond B it is
slightly alkaline to the acidic ranges (Table 4). The periodic liming in pond A may be
attributed to such higher pH value. Concomitantly, a sharp increase in the pH vaiue is
also recorded following the lime treatment in the month o f October (8.5, 8.9) and
March (9.0, 8.8) in pond A (Figure 1-B). The effect o f lime on the pH has also been
described by Macan et al. (1942), Hall (1949), flora and Pillay (1962) and Hickling
(1962) in aquaculture ponds. Interestingly, from slightly alkaline to moderately acidic
nature o f pH in the unmanaged pond (pond B) exhibits an identical trend with the
natural flood plain wetlands o f Assam which is earlier worked out by a number o f
workers (Dey, 1981; Lahon, 1983; Kar, 1984 and Goswami, 1985; Thakuria and
Sharma, 2006). Moreover, in the present study, it is found that the water pH intends to
rise during the summer and monsoon seasons (Figure 1-B) which corroborates the
finding o f Thakuria and Sharma, 2006 In both the studied ponds a positive and
significant correlation is found between the pH and phytoplankton density (r = + 0.615,
p < 0.05 & r = + 0.782, p < 0.05 in pond A and B respectively) which is in agreement
with the findings o f Kannan & Job (1980).

Diurnal investigation in the two ponds in different seasons reveals that


maximum water pH attains at 4 pm in most o f the seasons o f observation (Table 25-28).
A positive relationship between pH, temperature and DO has been discernible in the
two ponds. Such a relationship is also reported by Mortain & Bayly (1977). It is ala)
observed that the amplitude o f diel variation in pH is found maximum (1.9 in both pond
A and pond B) when the photosynthetic activity o f phytoplankton biomass is higher
while minimum (0.6 in pond A and 0.8 in pond B) when the opportunity o f

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photosynthetic activity is less. A close link between pH and photosynthetic activity of
phytoplankton is justified by Judey et a l (1924 and 1934), Elwakeel & Wahby (1970),
Sreenivasan (1970 and 1976) and Saad (1971).

As the submerged vegetations are present in negligible quantity in the two


ponds, the dissolved oxygen (DO) content is mainly produced by the phytoplankton
community. In comparison to pond B, DO in pond A is higher which is attributed to the
higher phytoplankton density in pond A (Figure 2-A). The higher DO content in winter
and lower in the hotter months in the two ponds ensuing seasonal fluctuations is also
reported from Indian freshwaters (Das and Srivastava, 1956a; Hussainy, 1967, Khan
1969). Similar findings are also reported from the wetlands and fish ponds o f Assam
(Lahon, 1983; Goswami, 1985; Hazarika and Dutta, 1998; Sarma, 2000). The solubility
o f oxygen is affected non-linearly by temperature (Hutchinson, 1957, Reid, 1961).

Diurnal variation o f DO characterized by increase in day hours and nocturnal


decrease is discemable in the two studied ponds (Table 25-28). Similar diel pattern has
been reported by many earlier workers from the subtropical region o f India (George,
1962; Khan and Siddiqui, 1970; Ali and Khan, 1976; Gaur and Khan, 1995; Datta et
a l, 1982, Choudhury et a l, 1991, Bose and Gorai, 1993, Goswami, 1985, Achaijee et
a l, 1999). Contrary to the seasonal trend, in case o f diurnal variation DO increase is
more related to the photosynthetic activities o f phytoplankton than the fluctuation o f
seasonal temperature. However, during the day time increased water temperature
accelerates the photosynthetic oxygen production in water (Micheal, 1966a). A positive
relationship between the amplitude o f diel variation o f DO and the phytoplankton
biomass is found in the present investigation. Gaur and Khan, 1995 reported a positive
and significant correlation between DO and density o f a Cyanobacterium, Microcystis
aeroginosa.

An inverse fluctuation trend o f free carbon dioxide (FCO 2) with DO is noticed


in the two studied ponds at seasonal level (Table 23) corroborating the findings o f Das

\
)

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and Srivastava (1956 a), Micheal (1969), Seenayya (1971) and Goswami (1985).
Increase in FCO2 values during monsoon through autumn is caused primarily by
decomposition o f certain aquatic vegetations (Allegier et al, 1932). A positive
correlation between FCO2 and water temperature is also observed in the studied ponds
(Table 23). Similar findings are also reported by Hynes (1970) in running water
condition and Goswami (1985) in lacustrine environment. Moreover, the rain water
enhances FCO2 (Chakravarty et al, 1959; Pahwa and Mehrotra, 1966) during the
period in the formation o f carbonic acid and release o f more FT ions (Roughton, 1941;
Gonzalves and Jushi, 1946; Berg and Patersen, 1956) to the pond water which exhibits
an inverse relation of FCO2 with pH. On the other hand, a complete absence o f FCO2
was recorded in pond A only in the month o f March, 2004 and February & March in
2005 (Table 6) is due to the influence o f liming supplemented by photosynthetic
activity of phytoplankton community.

A nocturnal increase o f FCO2 in the diurnal variation studies in the two studied
ponds mostly culminating to its maximum at 12 mid-night and 4 am in different
seasons is contributed by community respiration by the biota (Choudhury et al.t 1991).
Besides, the factors reportedly responsible for seasonal fluctuation o f FCO2 also act to
govern enhancing accumulation o f FC 02 in case o f diurnal variation.

Total alkalinity (TA) as a measure o f productivity (Sehaperclaus, 1928) is found


in the two ponds mainly due to bicarbonate ions. Accumulation o f FCO2 from
hydrophytic decomposition and community respiration facilitate formation o f stable
bicarbonates and checks further dissociation into carbonate formation (Hutchinson,
1957). This portrays a direct relationship between o f TA with FCO2. A more or less
similar observation has been reported by Sreenivasan, 1965; Moitra and Bbattacharyya,
1965; Pahwa and Mehrotra, 1966 from the freshwater lentic bodies o f India. Carbonate
alkalinity in pond A is recorded only in the month o f March (2004) andt. February &
March (2005) may be due to CaCC>3 used for liming (Table 18) which dissociates in
water to form a lot o f carbonates. Besides, formation o f carbonate alkalinity may be due

to abundance o f phytoplankton (Juday et al., 1934) which removes half-bound carbon


dioxide from the bicarbonate leaving a certain amount o f carbonate in the water to
perform an alkaline reaction.
It is also observed that TA in pond A is considerably higher than that o f pond B
in all the seasons (Figure 2-C). This may be directly related to the liming treatments in
pond A (Table 18). Enrichment o f TA by liming in fish ponds has also been reported by
Alikunhi (1957).
As the bicarbonate alkalinity is enhanced by increased FCO2 concentration. TA
in the two ponds shows a day time decrease and nocturnal increase in most o f the
seasons. In pond A, during the period in which the carbonate alkalinity prevailed, a day
time increase in the TA is observed (Table 28-A) which gives evidence to the positive
correlation between carbonate alkalinity and phytoplankton productivity (Crawford,
1977). Removal o f carbonates and rise in bicarbonates during the night hours is due to
community respiration and cessation o f photosynthesis (Sumitra, 1969; Sreenivasan.
1976, Kannan and Job, 1980).
The total hardness (TH) recorded in the two ponds represents hard water (> 50
mg f , as given by Swingle, 1967). Interestingly, without any supplement o f lime in
pond B it exhibits a more or less closer TH values (mean value in pond A = 92.33 &
91.0 m g.r and in pond B = 90.83 & 90.67 mg.f') to that o f pond A in different seasons
(Table 8). This may be due to the influx o f nutrients from the non reclaimed part o f the
swamp into pond B which elevates its hardness during the monsoon season. Similar
range of TH as found in the studied ponds is also reported earlier from different
wetlands o f Assam (Dey 1981; Sharma and Hussain, 1999; Sarma, 2000).
It is evident that the amount o f Calcium as CaCC>3 is considerably higher in
pond A than pond B. Such a marked difference in Ca concentration in the ponds is
attributed to the periodic liming practices done in pond A (Table 18). Contrary to the

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Calcium content, concentration o f Magnesium in pond B is recorded higher than pond
A. Higher value o f Mg than Ca has also been recorded earlier in some wetlands of
Assam (Sarma, 2000).

Studies on the heleoplankton reveal the dominance o f Chlorophyceae in terms


o f population density as well as species composition over the other five
phytoplanktonic

groups namely,

Myxophyeeae,

Bacilleriophyceae,

Euglenineae,

Dinophyceae and Chrysophyceae (Figure 6). Dominance o f chlorophyceae among the


phytoplankers has been reported earlier by several workers from different wetlands o f
Assam (Lahon, 1983; Goswami, 1985, Yadava, 1987; Dutta et al., 1990; Chutia et al,
1991, Hazarika and Dutta, 1994). Besides Chlorophyceae, the annual density of
Myxophyeeae is found higher than the other classes o f phytoplankton in pond A
(Figure 6-A) which represents that its water quality might had an inclination towards
eutrophic condition due to the use o f inorganic fertilizers and organic manures.
According to Palmer (1969) presence o f 50 or more individuals o f Cyanophytes,
Euglenophytes and certain Diatoms in 1ml o f water is a characteristic o f eutrophication
and organic pollution.

Among the zooplankters, the predominance o f Rotifera group, which has been a
common feature o f Indian freshwaters (George, 1961a; Michael, 1968; Sharma, 1996),
is also discernible in both the studied ponds followed by Copepods in pond B, while in
pond A it is followed by Copepods in the first year and Cladocerans in the following
year (Figure 14-A, B).

The annual plankton density as a whole has been remarkably higher in pond A
in comparison to pond B (Figure 5-A). Better growth o f plankton in pond A is obtained
as a result o f the fertilizer and manure treatments (Table 18). Use o f fertilizers and
manures in different dosage as required in the aquaculture ponds to enhance the
production o f plankton is also described earlier by many workers (Alikunhi, 1956a;
Govind et al, 1978; Sharma et al., 1979)

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Although there exist a significantly higher density of plankton in pond A it is


less diversified than pond B in terms o f species composition. Out o f the total 43 genera
of phytoplankton recorded in the present study 33 genera are common to both the ponds
supporting their natural distribution (Table

13).

However, 4 genera namely

Trachelomonas, Chlamydomonas, Triploceras and Tabellaria occur only in pond A


while 6 genera namely Oscillatoria, Lyngbya, Closterium, Sirogonium, Fragilleria and
Milosira remain restricted to pond B. Concomitantly, of all the 37 zooplankton species
recorded during this study 36 species registers their occurrence in pond B. Higher
species richness of pond B in comparison with pond A may be due to its swamp fed
nutrients. Moreover, application o f the inorganic fertilizers (Urea and single super
phosphate) and organic manures (Cowdung and poultry litter) along with lime in pond
A though favour increase in the plankton density, it may produce certain negative
impact on the plankton community to reduce their number o f species (Table 18)

The

earlier records from this part of the country, also reveals that though a good number of
phytoplankton and zooplankton species has been reported from different wetlands
(Lahon, 1983; Kar, 1984; Goswami, 1985; Sharma, 2000 a,b, 2005; Sarma, 2000;
Sharma and Sharma, 2001), the species composition o f heleoplanktonic community is
very limited (Dutta et al., 1990; Chutia et al., 1991; Hazarika and Dutta, 1994,1999). In
relation to the nutrition levels o f lakes, Maitland (1978) stated that oligotrophic lakes
support a high number o f phytoplankton and zooplankton species but represented only
by a small number of individuals, while eutrophic lakes support small numbers of
plankton species, but large numbers o f individuals for each species. The pretlation
pressures o f planktivorus fishes in the aquaculture ponds also play a significant role in
the lower occurrence o f heleoplankton species. Such effects o f planktivorus and
omnivorus fishes on the plankton community has also been reported by many workers
(Sarvala et al., 1998; Domaizon and Devaux, 1999; Tatrai et al., 2003) from different
water bodies.

137
Seasonality o f plankton in freshwater lakes, reservoirs and ponds has already been
established. The plankton community, on which the whole aquatic ecosystem depends
directly and indirectly, is not governed by a single factor but influenced by the
interaction o f a number o f physico-chemical factors (Krishna Rao, 1985), acting
simultaneously to cause fluctuation o f plankton population (Davis, 1955).

In the present study a bimodal pattern o f seasonal growth o f phytoplankton with


two major peaks has been observed during the first year (July, 2004-June, 2005) in the
month o f August (monsoon season) and in April (premonsoon season) in pond A
(Figure 9-A). In the following year (July, 2005-June, 2006) also the phytoplankton
density attains two peaks, one in the month o f October (retreated monsoon) and the
other in May (premonsoon) (Figure 9-A). But in pond B, a single major peak is
recorded in August (monsoon) during the first year (July, 2004-June, 2005), while two
secondary peaks in the month o f August (monsoon) and March (premonsoon) along
with the major peak in January (winter) is found in the following year (July, 2005-June,
2006) (Figure 9-B). Bimodal pattern o f plankton growth contributed mainly by
phytoplankters has also reported from different freshwater ponds o f India by Das and
Srivastava, (1956 b,c and 1959), Bhowmick (1968), Baruah et al. (1993), Pandey et al.
(1995) and Sing et al. (1999) whereas Micheal (1969), Saha et al. (1971), Saha (1989),
Choudhury and Datta (1998) and Hazarika and Dutta (1998) in their works recorded
single peaks.

The monsoon pulse observed in both the ponds during the first year is due to
outburst of Pandorina sp. of Chlorophyceae in pond A while in pond B it is due to the
higher growth o f Navicula sp. o f Bacilleriophyceae (Table 16 and 17). The second peak
in pond A observed in April soon after manuring is due to the growth o f Zygnema sp. In
the replicate year remarkable growth o f Staurastram sp., Dinobryon sp., and
Microcystis sp. contribute to the retreated monsoon peak while increased density of
Zygnema sp. and Pandorina sp. create the premonsoon peak in pond A. Higher growth
of Navicula sp., which according to Palmar (1969) an indication o f organic pollution is

o b s e r v e d

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139

Staurastrum sp (Table 16). The winter density o f this group is due to the contributions
of all the species present in that period. Again in the pre-monsoon season outburst o f
Zygnema sp. contribute to retain the dominancy o f their group (Table 16).

In pond B, after the monsoon peak phytoplankton density declines to the


minimum in the retreated monsoon and the dominance o f Bacilleriophyceae is replaced
by Chlorophyceae due to the growth o f Panodorina sp., Closterium sp. and
Oedogonium sp (Table 17). But during winter when the water temperature is low with
simultaneous fall o f pH the growth o f Asteriomlla sp. and Diatoma sp. in appreciable
amounts contributes Bacilleriophyceae to dominate phytoplankton community during
the winter season (Table 17). In the pre-monsoon period an elevated phytoplankton
density is obtained due to better growth o f Ulothrix sp. and Volvox sp. o f
Chlorophyceae and Navicula sp. o f Bacilleriophyceae (Table 17).

Among different phytoplanktonic classes Myxophyceae, in pond A exhibits a


bimodal pattern o f population with two major peaks in the month o f September (2004)
and January (2005) (Figure 10-A). The first peak (in September) is more prominent
than the second peak (in January) which is characterized by luxuriant growth o f
Microcystis sp. In the replicate year, the group showed only a single major peak in
October (2005) which is also obtained mainly through the manifold growth of
Microcystis sp. Choudhury and Datta (1998), Hazarika and Dutta (1998) and Pahari
(2001) also reported single peak o f Myxophyceae population from fresh water lentic
bodies o f India. In pond B, during the first year o f observation Myxophyceae
population exhibits three peaks in August, December and February while an oscillating
curve is obtained in the following year (Figure 12-A). Jana et al. (1980) also reported
triple peaks but in the month of April, July and September in a pond while in another
pond he recorded a single peak. Thus it is found that the fluctuation trend o f the group
may vary from pond to pond. Concomitantly, during the first year in pond A,
Myxophyceae shows statistically significant (p < 0.05) and negative correlations with
the TA, pH and zooplankton population while positive and significant correlation with

140

the total hardness (Table 21). In the next year a significant positive correlation is found
between Myxophyceae and Chrysophyceae (Table 22) which in agree with the results
obtained by Goswami (1985) in a tectonic lake o f Assam. In pond B, Myxophyceae
showed significant positive correlations with Bacilleriophyceae and Copepods and
negative correlation with Cladocerans in the first year (Table 23). During the following
year

Myxophyceae

shows

significant

negative

correlation

with

Rotifers

and

Cladocerans and also with the physico-chemical parameters o f water such as T A , FCO2
and TH while positive correlation is found with dissolved oxygen (Table 24).

Cholorophyceae in the two ponds is found to be the dominant group among the
phytoplankton community which shows a major pulse in August (2004) with a
secondary pulse in April (2005) in pond A during the first year o f investigation (Figure
10-B). The correlation o f Chlorophyceae with the temperature and rainfall is found
positive and significant in pond A during the period o f investigation (Table 21). In the
next year two major peaks are recorded in October (2005) and May (2006) (Figure 10B). A nearly identical trend is found in pond B in the first year while an oscillating
trend is observed in the following year (Figure 12-B). Higher density o f Chlorophyceae
in the warmer months as observed in the present investigation corroborates the findings
o f Kar (1984) and Goswami (1985) in two lakes o f Assam. Also, a more or less similar
trend o f Chlorophyceae population was reported by Zafar (1967), Methew (1972).
Dewan (1973), Sing and Mahajan (1987), Jana and Kundu (1993), Chaudhury and
Datta (1998) and Pahari (2001). Correlation analysis in pond B reveals positive and
significant correlations between Chlorophyceae and the physico-chemical parameters
namely T H and pH. Brylinsky (1980) and Chaudhury and Datta (1998) also reported a
significant correlation between Chorophyceae and pH. Pahari (2001) however could not
find

any

significant

correlation

between

Chlorophyceae

and

physico-chemical

parameters o f water. Moreover, among the different groups o f plankton Chlorophyceae


shows positive relationships with Rotifers in the first year and Euglenineae in the next
year. In pond B, a positive correlation is also apparent between Chlorophyceae,
Euglenineae and Rotifera (Table 23) in the first year o f investigation.

141
In the present study class Euglenineae exhibits two peaks in October (2004) and
May (2005) respectively in pond A in the first year and a single peak in the month o f
May (2006) in the second year (Figure 10-C). In pond B, the group does not show any
significant growth in different seasons (Figure 12 C). Application o f fertilizers in pond
A in the month o f October (2004) promotes the growth o f Euglena sp. to attain the first
peak while fertilization done in April (2005 and 2006) may enhance the growth o f
Phacus sp. (Table 16) which renders to attain the peak in May (both 2005 and 2006).
Higher density o f the group during warmer months has also been reported by Jana et al.
(1980) and Pahari (2001). Contrary to such observations Chaudhury and Datta (1998)
recorded the Euglenoid peak in the month o f December/ January in winter season A
significant positive correlation is also obtained between this group and the rainfall in
pond A (Table 21). In pond B, Euglenineae shows a significant negative correlation
with pH in the second year o f the study (Table 24), which corroborates the findings o f
Chaudhury and Datta (1998) but is not in agreement with the findings o f Pahari (2001)
who found a positive correlation between the two.

In comparison to the other phytoplanktonic groups Dinophyceae and


Chrysophyceae are present irregularly and no definite trend in their seasonal fluctuation
could be traced (Figure 11-A, B). However in pond A, sharp increase in the density o f
Ceratium sp. is recorded in the month o f October (2004) and November (2005) (Table
16). Similarly a manifold growth o f Dinobryon sp. is also apparent in pond A in
November (2004) and October (2005). Such a marked increase in density o f the two
groups attributes to the effect o f fertilization o f the pond A during these periods (Table
18). Profuse occurrence o f these two groups in the autumn season is also reported from
Assam (Goswami, 1985) and two lentic wetlands o f West Bengal (Pahari, 2001).

The Bacilleriophyceae group is one o f the major constituents o f the


phytoplankton community in the two ponds which shows a major pulse in pond A
during February in the first year and during March (2006) in the next year (Figure 11-

142
C). But in pond B, a single primary peak is observed in the month o f August in the first
year (Figure 13-C). However, no definite trend o f fluctuation o f this group is found in
the second year o f observations. Similar to the present observation as noticed in pond
A, Zafar (1968) reported higher abundance o f diatoms population during the winter
season. A significant negative correlation is also discernible in pond A between
Bacilleriophyceae and two physico-chemical parameters namely temperature and FCO2
(Table 21) Low temperature and reduced FCO2 as seen in pond A is in agreement with
Ruttner (1964) and Rao (1977) who opined that the favourable growth o f this
phytoplanktonic group as a whole and Navicula spp. in particular is related with such
conditions.

The zooplankton population in the present study exhibits a trimodal pattern in


pond A in which peaks are recorded in August (2004), December (2004) and May
(2005) respectively in the first year (July, 2004 to June, 2005) and in January (2006),
April (2006) and June (2006) respectively in the second year o f investigation (Figure
17-A). In pond B, two primary peaks are recorded respectively in July (2004) and June
(2005) between which two secondary peaks, one in January (2005) and the other in
April (2005) are observed (Figure 17-B). In the replicate year, the four peaks were
recorded in July (2005), November (2005), March (2006) and May (2006) (Figure 17B). In temperate water bodies the seasonal fluctuation o f zooplankton population often
takes the form o f a bimodal curve (Welch, 1952). Many workers (Vasisht and Sharma,
1975; Ayyapan and Gupta, 1980; Nasar, 1983, Goswami, 1985; Pahari, 2001) also
observed from this sub tropical region such an identical pattern in the seasonal density
of zooplankton. Contrary to this, in the present investigation three peaks o f zooplankton
growth have been recorded in pond A which corroborates the findings o f Patil and
Karikal (2001), while the four peaks observed in pond B supports Saha et al.(1971),
Sugunan (1980) and Swar and Fernando (1980).

The seasonal fluctuation o f zooplankton density shows a significant positive


correlation with the rainfall in pond B in both first ( r = 0.430 , p < 0.05) and second (r

143

= 0.618, p < 0.05)

year o f observation but in pond A the correlation coefficient

between these two parameters was low and statistically non-significant (Table 21-24).
Burgis (1971, 1974) reported an increase in the zooplankton density in the rainy season
in tropical lake George, Uganda, while Mavuti (1990) recorded a positive and
significant correlation between the rainfall and zooplankton density in lake Naivasha.
The relationship between rainfall and total zooplankton abundance may not be a direct
one but related to the influx of nutrient from the adjacent swamp part of pond B.

Byars, (1960) opined that seasonal fluctuation o f zooplankton is largely


influenced by temperature while Battish and Kumar (1986) observed that temperature
exhibits a greater influence on the quantitative fluctuation o f zooplankton. However
several workers (Chacko and Krishnamurthy, 1954; Aiikunhi et al. 1955, Sarma 2000,
Pahari, 2001) fail to show any significant relationship between zooplankters and
temperature. In the present investigation zooplankton density in pond B shows a direct
correlation with the water temperature which portrays a higher density o f zooplankton
during the warmer months (Table 23-24). Positive correlation between these two
factors has also been reported by Malik and Bharti (2005).

Effect of pH on the zooplankters has been well established by Welch 1952


while each zooplanktonic species is known to have different degrees o f tolerance to
acidity and alkalinity. Das and Srivastava (1956a), Moitra and Bhattacharya (1965) and
Jana (1973) opined that the zooplankton population has a correlation with pH. In the
present study also a significant positive correlation has been established between pH
and seasonal density o f zooplankton (Table 23). Moreover, the zooplankton density
also exhibits a positive and statistically significant correlation with the TA (Table 23).
These observations are in agreement with the findings o f Zutsi et al. 1972; Verma and
DuttaMunshi, 1987; Mansoori et al. 1983.

144
Qualitative analysis of the zooplankton community reveals that the emergence
o f different groups in different seasons brings about the fluctuation o f seasonal density
of zooplankton as a whole. Among the four groups o f zooplankton recorded in the
present study Rotifers are found to the dominant one which plays the key role in the
seasonal fluctuation o f zooplankton (Figure 14). Dominance o f Rotifers in the present
observation corroborates the findings o f Sharma (2000b, 2005), Samoa (2000), Sharma
and Sharma (2001) in the floodplain wetlands o f Assam. Contrary to these findings
Lahon (1983) and Goswami (1985) reported the dominance o f protozoa in two different
wetlands o f Assam. It has been observed that during the monsoon season with higher
temperature and alkaline pH may influence the outburst o f Brachionus caliciflorus in
the month o f August (Table 16) which contributes to the monsoon peak o f Rotifers as
well as the zooplankton population in pond A (Figure 17-A). However, in the absence
o f significant growth in different groups the zooplankton density attains a trough period
in the retreated monsoon (Figure 17-A). Low emergence o f rotifers during this period
corroborates the findings o f Sarma (2000) in a wetland o f Assam. After manuring of
the pond in the later part o f retreated monsoon a sharp rise in the population o f
Keratella tropica and Bosmina longirostris brings about the winter peak of
zooplankton. Maximum occurrence o f Cladocera in winter season has also been
reported by Kaushik and Sarma (1994). At the onset o f pre-monsoon significant growth
o f calanoid nauplii helps to register the peak population o f Copepoda (Figure 19-A).
Further enrichment of nutrients with increased alkalinity through manuring and
limming enhance the growth o f Brachionus caliciflorus which was followed by
manifold increase in the density o f B. angularis (Table 16). This renders the Rotifers to
maintain their dominance. Abundance o f B. angularis and B. caliciflorus as an
indicator o f alkaline water (Sharma, 2001) is also affirmed by the present results. Along
with the Rotifers subsequent production o f cyclopoid nauplii lead the zooplankton
population to reach the premonsoon peak (Figure 17-A). In the second year in pond A,
zooplankton population during the monsoon is mainly characterized by the abundance
o f B. caliciflorus which was replaced by B. forficula in the retreated monsoon (Table
16). The winter emergence of Keratella tropica and Bosmina longirostris again in the

145
next year produced a secondary pulse o f zooplankton community in the month of
December (Figure 17-A). As the winter proceeds simultaneous emergence o f B.
fulcatus and B. diversicomis creates an overshoot in the Rotifer population (Figure 18B). Along with these two species cyclopoid and calanOid nauplii occur in some
considerable amount to produce the primary peak o f the zooplankton community in the
pre-monsoon. Pant et al. (1979) opined that Brachionus and Keratella are the most
commonly found brachionoids in Indian water bodies. Moreover, Geroge (1966) is o f
the opinion that the dominance o f rotifers particularly Brachionus and Keratella is
related to pH condition o f the water. Sharma (2005) reported the occurrence o f 13
species o f Brachionus in alkaline water o f some floodplain lakes o f Lower Assam
which is significantly higher in comparison to that o f 7 species in acidic waters of
floodplain lakes o f Brahmaputra river basin. The present findings are in agreement
with this said conclusion and also supports the results o f Vasisht and Sharma (1976)
who reported similar relationship between the occurrence o f these two genera and pH
(within the range 7 to 9).
In pond B, although the zooplankton community is more diversified than pond
A there is no distinctly high growth o f a particular species. However, Rotifers and
Copepods with higher abundance shares the dominance o f the zooplankton community.
Study on the seasonal density o f different zooplanktonic groups in pond B shows that
the Protozoans are more abundant during the warmer months when the water seems to
contain high bacterial growth. The Protozoan density attains a single major peak in
monsoon which corroborates with the findings o f Lahon (1983), Goswami (1985) and
Sarma (2000) in different wetlands o f Assam. The Rotifers in pond B also shows higher
growth during the monsoon season and low emergence during the retreated monsoon.
Similar trend is also reported by Kar (2004) from a lake in Assam. Besides Rotifers,
considerable abundance o f Copepod population in pond B in comparison to pond A is
noteworthy. A good abundance o f Copepods in a tectonic lake o f Assam with higher
detritus and decomposed vegetations as reported by Goswami (1985) may be a reason
in the present investigation too. Moreover, it has been reported that temperature appears

146
to be the major factor in the seasonal fluctuation o f Copepods (Chen, 1965). In contrast,
the statistically significant correlation is not found in the present study which
corroborates the finding o f Mathew (1985). The Copepod density in pond B shows a
trimodal pattern with three peaks in August (2004), January (2005) and April (2005)
respectively, but in the following year a bimodal pattern is observed with two primary
peaks in November (2005) and May (2006). The bimodal pattern o f Copepod
population is also reported by Patil and Karikal (2001) in April and December.
Cladoceran population in pond B exhibits a significant negative correlation with
the Copepods (Table 23), which indicate a grazing competition between the two and
may be cause o f low abundance o f the former. The seasonal fluctuation o f this group is
found to be irregular with an oscillating curve which is not in agreement with the
results o f Rao et al. (1981), Kaushik and Sharma (1994) who described a bimodal
pattern o f Cladoceran population with the monsoon and winter peaks.

The significant emergence o f phytoplankers during the day hours with their
nocturnal decrease in density is clearly instituted during the day hours as observed with
the diurnal studies. On the other hand the zooplankters tend to produce a higher density
during the night hours, as reportedly established in fresh water bodies o f India
(Micheal, 1964; Verma, 1967; Khan and Siddiqui, 1970; Saha et al. 1971; Ali and
Khan, 1976; Gaur and Khan, 1995).

In the present study seventeen species o f phytoplankters are found to exhibit


diurnal fluctuation o f which Microsystis sp. (Figure 30-B), Trachelomonas sp. (Figure
32-B) and Lyngbya sp. (Figure 30-A) Staurastrum sp. (Figure 31-A) register their
highest density at 8 am. Higher density o f Lyngbya hieronymusii and Staurastrum
anatinum during the morning hours is also reported by Goswami (1985) while Verma
(1967) recorded maximum density o f Trachelomonas at 9 am. Morning abundance of
Microsystis sp. with subsequent decrease during the day hours corroborates the findings
of Okino, 1973; Reynolds, 1973; Sirenko and Kokyrsta, 1981; Takamura and Yasuno,

147
1984. Konopka et al. (1978) opined that at high light intensity Microcystis sunk to the
deeper layers o f water due to the loss o f buoyancy. Contrary to this, some workers
(Khan and Siddiqui, 1970; Gaur and Khan, 1995) recorded maximum density of
Mycrosystis aeruginosa at 12 pm and 4 pm. However, the density o f many
phytoplankters namely Nostoc sp. (Figure 30-C), Oscillatoria sp. (Figure 30-E),
Cosmarium sp. (Figure 31-B), Closterium sp. (Figure 31-C), Ceratium sp. (Figure 33AX Peridinium sp. (Figure 33-B), Navicula sp. (Figure 34-A), Frustulia sp. (Figure 34B), Cyclotella sp. (Figure 34-C), and Asterionella sp. (Figure 34-D) in the present study
have increased from the morning hours to reach the peak at around 4 pm. More or less
similar trends are also reported by Ali and Khan (1976), Goswami (1985), Lahon
(1983). Moreover, three species namely Spirulina sp. (Figure 30-D), Volvox sp. (Figure
31-D) and Euglena sp. (Figure 32-A) exhibit their maximum abundance at 12 noon.
Verma (1967) also reported the maximum density o f Euglena in surface water at noon
hours. However, the present observation does not corroborate the findings o f Blaauboer
(1982) who reported the maximum density o f Ceratium hirudinella. during the evening
and night hours with subsequent decrease in the morning hours.

In contrast with the phytoplankters, the zooplankton exhibits a diel decrease


with subsequent nocturnal increase in their density as also reported by many earlier
workers (Khan and Ejike, 1984; Gliwicz and Pijanowska, 1988; Reichwaldt and Stibor,
2005).

In the present investigation it is observed that the trend o f diurnal fluctuation of


zooplankton groups are different in different seasons according to its major constituent
members, the quantitative variation o f which eventually determined the density o f the
whole zooplankton community. In general the Brachionids except Keratella exhibit an
increase in their density from the evening and attained the peak at around 4 am as
observed in the present study which gradually decrease during the day hours and
maintain the trough period at the mid day hours (Figure 36-A to C). Contrary to this, an
increase in the density of Keratella is discernible in the two ponds during the day hours

148

(Figure 36-D) corroborating the findings o f Goswami (1985). Copepods and


Cladocerans in the other hand tend to produce their maximum density mostly during
the mid night hours (Figure 26-29). Chang and Hanazato (2004) also reported a two or
three times increase of Mesocyclop sp. density at the midnight hours over the day time
density. Muluk and Beklioglu (2005) reported a significant increase in the Daphnia
population during the night hours.

The causative factors for diel movements o f plankters are yet a complex
phenomenon (Welch, 1952). Although light intensity is considered to be the principal
factor (Siebaek, 1960; Beeton, 1960; Rigelberg, 1964; Mieheal, 1966; Wetzel, 1975)
having control over the vertical migration o f linoplankton, the actual causes o f such
migration still appear speculative (Matsumura-Tundisi, et al. 1984). Other abiotic
factors notably day length, temperature, DO, FCOz also more or less have relationships
with the diurnal dynamics of plankton. Moreover, in fish ponds plankton are highly
influenced by the predation pressure o f planktivorus and omnivorus fishes (Sarvala et
al, 1998; Tafrai et al. 2003).

The phytoplankton productivity estimated in the two ponds exhibits more or


less a normal trend. The Gross primary productivity (GPP) in the two ponds shows a
positive and significant correlation with the phytoplankton density (r = 0.676, p< 0.05;
0.639, p< 0.05 in pond A and 0.473, p< 0.05 in pond B) except in the second year in
pond B, in which the correlation coefficient is low and statistically insignificant (r = 0.138). Net primary productivity (NPP) o f the Pond A is found to be higher than that o f
the pond B while Community Respiratory Value (CRV) is recorded higher in pond B
(Table 12). This may be due to higher density o f animal community and low ratio
between phytoplankton and zooplankton in pond B. The GPP is found to be closer in
pond A and pond B, but pond A is dominated by phytoplankton while the pond B by
macrophytic vegetations. In the present study, the closer GPP may be due to the higher
phytoplankton density in pond A compensated by higher macrophytic growth in pond

149
B. The macrophytie growth and subsequent development o f phototrophic bacteria
enhances the GPP in freshwater (Goswami, 1985).

The seasonal fluctuation o f phytoplankton productivity shows an oscillating


trend due to the influence of change o f weather in the interference o f cloud and rain
(Silva and Davies 1987). However, an increased value o f GPP during the warmer
months is discernible in the two ponds which corroborates the findings o f Kleppel et al.
(1977), Acharjee and Dutta, 1999).

The diversity indices o f phytoplankton and zooplankton tested in the two ponds
which are studied on seasonal basis giving a clear picture in respect o f species
diversity, richness, evenness and dominance in different groups. The species diversity
indices exhibit highest diversity in Chlorophyceae among the phytoplankters and
Rotifers among the zooplankton in both the ponds (Table 19-20). This may be
attributed to the favourable water quality as has already been observed for the growth
and reproduction o f these two groups in the present context o f the study. It is
noteworthy to mention that as many as 164 species o f Rotifera with 9 new species to
the Indian subcontinent has already been described by Sharma (2005) which represents
a richest biodiversity in this geographical location. Concurrently, the dominance index
helps to analyze the importance o f a species in a community and role played by it. Kar
(1971) opined that the dominance index increases with the increase in the harshness o f
environment. In agreement with this view in the present study it can be concluded that
the water quality o f the two ponds is not favourable for Chrysophyceae which is closely
followed by Dinophyceae in pond A.