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Seasonal dynamics of zooplankton in a shallow eutrophic, man-made hyposaline lake in Delhi (India): role of environmental factors

Arora, Jyoti, Mehra, N. K.
Hydrobiologia 2009 v.626 no.1 pp. 27-40
nutrient content, cations, watersheds, seasonal variation, Microcystis aeruginosa, groundwater, biochemical oxygen demand, zooplankton, interspecific variation, lakes, Mesocyclops, multivariate analysis, surface water, water quality, community structure, species diversity, chemical oxygen demand, Brachionus, silicates, physicochemical properties, environmental factors, rain, nitrates, India
Old Fort Lake, a small (1.6 ha), shallow, and recreational water body in Delhi (India) was studied through monthly surveys in two consecutive years (January, 2000-December, 2001). Precipitation is the major source of water for this closed basin lake. In addition, ground water is used for replenishing the lake regularly. This alkaline, hyposaline hard water lake contains very high ionic concentration, especially of nitrates. Based on overall ionic composition, this lake can be categorized as chloride-sulfate alkaline waters with the anion sequence dominated by SO₄ ²⁻ > Cl⁻ > HCO₃ ⁻, and the cations by Mg⁺⁺ > Ca⁺⁺. The overall seasonal variability in physicochemical profile was largely regulated by the annual cycle of evaporation and precipitation, whereas the ground water largely influences its water quality. The lake exhibited phytoplankton-dominated turbid state due to dominance of the blue green alga, Microcystis aeruginosa. The persistent cyanobacterial blooms and the elevated nutrient levels are indicative of the cultural eutrophication of the lake. This study focuses on the relative importance of eutrophic vis-à-vis hyposaline conditions in determining the structure and seasonal dynamics of zooplankton species assemblages. A total of 52 zooplankton species were recorded and rotifers dominated the community structure qualitatively as well as quantitatively. The genus Brachionus comprised a significant component of zooplankton community with B. plicatilis as the most dominant species. The other common taxa were B. quadridentatus, B. angularis, Lecane grandis, L. thalera, L. punctata, Mesocyclops sp., and Alona rectangula. Multivariate data analysis techniques, Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) along with Monte Carlo Permutation Tests were used to determine the minimum number of environmental factors that could explain statistically significant (P < 0.05) proportions of variation in the species data. The significant variables selected by CCA were NH₃-N followed by percent saturation of DO, COD, SS, BOD, NO₂-N, rainfall, silicates, and PO₄-P. The results indicate that the seasonal succession patterns of the zooplankton species were largely controlled by physicochemical factors related directly or indirectly to the process of eutrophication, whereas hyposaline conditions in the lake determined the characteristic species composition.