Impact of Jute Retting on Phytoplankton Diversity and Aquatic Health: Biomonitoring in a Tropical Oxbow Lake
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Phytoplankton acts as a primary producer and biological filter of aquatic ecosystem. Jute retting during monsoon is a common anthropological activity in the rural Bengal. Quantitative seasonal bio-monitoring of phytoplankton community composition with relative abundance and its diversity indices was carried out in this study from April 2013 to March 2014 to assess water quality and the impact of jute retting on phytoplankton diversity of a tropical fresh water oxbow lake in Nadia district of India. We recorded a total of 34 genera of 5 distinct classes, Chlorophyceae (15), Bacillariophyceae (13), Cyanophyceae (4), Dinophyceae (1) and Euglenophyceae (1). Members of Chlorophyceae dominated throughout the year. Unlike Cyanophyceae, Bacillariophyceae was found to be significantly increased during monsoon when compared to the rest of the year. Average phytoplankton density was highest in post-monsoon (8760/L) followed by monsoon (4680/L) and pre-monsoon (3650/L). Owing to the dominance of class Chlorophyceae and Bacillariophyceae we found this lake to be oligotrophic to mesotrophic. Indices values of genera richness, Shannon-Wiener, evenness and Simpson’s diversity reached their lowest 14, 1.61, 0.61 and 0.68 in monsoon and highest 23, 2.42, 0.77 and 0.86 in post monsoon respectively. The lowest diversity values during monsoon clearly suggested that the selected lake has highest anthropogenic pollution due to jute retting which impacted significantly on phytoplankton diversity. Therefore, the lake is not conducive for fish growth especially during monsoon and we opine that there is a need to regulate jute retting process, intensity and its density in the lake during the monsoon to ensure enhanced biodiversity for sustainable management and conservation of aquatic environment of this Oxbow lake.
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