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Community composition, abundance and biomass of tintinnids (Ciliata: Protozoa) in the Western Harbour, south-eastern Mediterranean Sea, Egypt

Heneash, Ahmed M. M., Abdel-Rahman, Nasser S., Gharib, Samiha M.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2015 v.187 no.8 pp. 517
Ciliata, Tintinnina, autumn, biomass, community structure, dissolved oxygen, environmental factors, food availability, nitrites, pH, phytoplankton, predation, seasonal variation, species diversity, spring, water salinity, Egypt, Mediterranean Sea
Seasonal variations in species composition, abundance and biomass of tintinnids (Protozoa: Ciliata) were investigated in the Western Harbour, seasonally during 2012. There were remarkable seasonal variations in environmental parameters, phytoplankton concentrations and abundance and biomass of tintinnids: highest in spring and lowest in autumn. Annual average abundance and biomass of tintinnids were 8.435 ind. l⁻¹ and 3.725 μg C l⁻¹, respectively. A total of 29 species of tintinnids belonging to 11 genera was identified. Of which, Tintinnopsis was the most abundant genus in terms of number of species (9), but Favella was the best quantitatively (89 % of the total tintinnids). The overall mean abundance and biomass were highest (mean 24.415 ind. l⁻¹ and 10.355 μg C l⁻¹, respectively) during spring than the remaining seasons. Due to significant positive relationship between the total biomass of tintinnids and phytoplankton concentrations, food supply is not a problem for tintinnids harbouring in the Western Harbour. Hence, predation loss by meso- and macrozooplankton might be the possible reasons for the estimated low biomass of tintinnids in the present study. Some of the seasonal environmental factors as water salinity, nitrite, dissolved oxygen and pH values exert an influence on the species composition, abundance and biomass of tintinnids.