Species composition of microzooplankton Tintinnid from the coastal waters of Digha, Bay of Bengal

Tintinnid species distribution and hydrography were studied in the coastal waters of Digha during winter (November 2015) and summer (March 2016) seasons. Surface water samples were collected from 11 different stations from 0 to 10 km offshore with the help of a mechanized trawler. Parameters like tintinnid species enumeration, zooplankton biomass, phytoplankton concentration (total chlorophyll) and abundance, sea surface temperature (SST), pH, transparency, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), total phosphate, silicate and nitrate were analysed. A total of 20 different tintinnid species (16 agglomerated +4 non-agglomerated) belonging to 6 genera were recorded from the study area with seasonal variation in tintinnid diversity, i.e. higher in summer (total 2745 individual/l) compared to winter (total 1191 individual/l). Tintinnopsis was the most dominant genus during both the seasons, i.e. 2100 individual/l in summer and 727 individual/l in winter, contributing about 76 and 61% population for the respective seasons. The correlation between species and water quality parameters showed that Tintinnopsis sp. abundance was significantly regulated by nitrate concentration, salinity, dissolved oxygen, water transparency and pH. However, the mentioned hydrological parameters were not the only factors regulating the tintinnid abundance. Tintinnid abundance was also found to be positively related with transparency (r = 0.732) and salinity (r = 0.524) and moderately related with dissolved oxygen (r = 0.488) whereas strong negative relation (at p ≤ 0.05) was established between tintinnid abundance with nitrate (r = −0.681) and pH (r = −0.561). Bray-Curtis cluster analysis of tintinnid species showed more than 60% similarity. Shannon’s diversity index (H′), Simpson’s evenness index (D) and Margalef’s species richness index were found to be higher in summer, i.e. 1.61, 0.729 and 1.612, compared to the winter season, i.e. 1.139, 0.597 and 1.268. k-dominance curve showed maximum abundance of Tintinnopsis baltica in winter and Tintinnopsis gracilis in summer. Principal component analysis (PCA) was analysed to find out the environmental variables affecting different tintinnid species diversity. A significant spatiotemporal variation in Tintinnid population distribution was observed from two-way ANOVA. The results reflect significant seasonal (F = 840.0), spatial (F = 47.3) and interactive variation (F = 71.2) among the ciliate microzooplankton at n = 66, p ≤ 0.001. High chlorophyll content and phytoplankton population in summer indicated that tintinnid diversity in the season was positively influenced by producer community in coastal waters of Digha.

Dash S., Behera R. K., Mohapatra P. K., Sarangi R. K., Raut D., Pati A. & Patnaik L., 2017. Species composition of microzooplankton Tintinnid from the coastal waters of Digha, Bay of Bengal. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 189:258. Article (subscription required).

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