Spatiotemporal distribution and composition of phytoplankton assemblages in a coastal tropical lagoon: Chilika, India

Suchismita Srichandan, Ji Yoon Kim, Punyasloke Bhadury, Saroja K Barik, Pradipta R Muduli, Rabindro N Samal, Ajit K Pattnaik, Gurdeep Rastogi
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2015, 187 (2): 47
The Asia's largest lagoon, Chilika, is a shallow water estuary and a designated "Ramsar" site located in the east coast of India. The spatiotemporal diversity of phytoplankton based on the monthly sampling between July 2011 and June 2012 was investigated in relation to physicochemical variables of the surface water column from 13 stations. The salinity was minimum (average 9) during the monsoon which was primarily due to riverine discharge. As the season progressed towards post-monsoon, average salinity of the whole lagoon reached to 10 which further increased to 20 during pre-monsoon season. A total of 259 species of phytoplankton, mostly dominated by the Bacillariophyta (138 species) followed by Dinophyta (38 species), Chlorophyta (32 species), Cyanophyta (29 species), Euglenophyta (18 species), and Chrysophyta (4 species), were recorded in this study. Different ecological sectors of the lagoon (except the northern sector) were dominated by diatoms, while the northern sector due to its freshwater regime supported large population of euglenoids. Based on the multivariate ordination analysis, salinity regime and light availability played important role in determining the distribution, diversity, and composition of phytoplankton communities. Overall, this study documented a very high diversity of phytoplankton and highlighted the importance of taking extensive sampling in getting a clearer understanding of phytoplankton community structure in less-studied environments such as Chilika lagoon.

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