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Environmental Determinants of Zooplankton Community in the Damietta Estuary of the Nile River, Egypt.

Byline: Wael S. El-Tohamy, Russell R. Hopcroft and Nagwa E.M. Abdel Aziz

Abstract

Zooplankton community and eleven environmental variables were investigated seasonally during 2014 through nine stations in the Damietta estuary of the Nile River. Meroplanktonic larvae were the major component representing 39.4% of the total zooplankton abundance. Copepods and their larval stages contributed 36.2%. Rotifers ranked the third important group (12.6%). Protozoa contributed 10.6% of the total community. According to the Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), the variations in the species data were significantly (Pb.

###Win###Spr###Sum###Aut###ANOVA

###F###P

Temp (AdegC)###17.02c###20.7b###27.1a###21.6b###60.7 <0.001

Tran (cm)###139a,b###195.4 a###140.1a,b###110.2b###3.21 <0.05

Salinity (PSU)###32.9###33.6###35.8###33.7###0.78###0.423

pH###8.1b###8b###8.3a###8.1b###2.99 <0.05

DO (mgl-1)###8###7.9###7.7###8.2###1.11###0.214

NO3 (ml-1)###0.61###0.86###1.12###0.91###1.15###0.208

NO2 (ml-1)###0.37###0.42###0.56###0.33###0.82###0.483

NH4 (ml-1)###3.42###10.6###13.1###12.61###0.461 0.721

PO4 (ml-1)###0.02b###0.01b###0.13a###0.013b###17.5 b>c>d.

###I###II###III###IV###V###VI###VII###VIII###IX###ANOVA

###F###P

Temperature (AdegC)###20.5###20.9###21###21.8###21.7###22.1###21.9###22.4###22.3###0.336###0.944

Transparency (cm)###160.5###91###130.5###118.8###150###130.5###137.5###221.8###130.5###1.171###0.352

Salinity (PSU)###38.8 a###36.9a,b###36.7a,b###34.5b,c###34.5b,c###33.9b,c###32.6c###29.5 d###29d###20.47###<0.001

pH###8.1###8.1###8.2###8.3###8.3###8.3###8.3###8.4###8.3###2.187###0.061

DO (mgl-1)###6.3 c###6.2 c###6.5 c###9.5 a,b###9.7 a,b###9.2 a,b###8.7 a,b###10.1 a###10.1 a###3.848###0.002

NO3 (ml-1)###1.1 a,b###0.74 a,b###0.66a,b###0.28 b###0.52 a,b###0.45 a,b###1+-0.94a,b 3.83 a###0.25 b###2.66###0.026

NO2 (ml-1)###0.3 b###0.55 a,b###0.33b###0.08 c###0.35 b###0.36 b###0.062 b###1.88 a###0.06 b###3.62###0.006

NH4 (ml-1)###10.23 a,b###61.6a###7.22b###0.064 c###2.1 b###1.47b,c###0.6b,c###1.5b,c###2.2b,c###7.91### 2 ug l-1), causing acute level of eutrophication along the estuary indicate the large influence of freshwater discharge in this region.

Chlorophyll a demonstrated clear differences between the sampled stations, with the markedly high value (29.1 ug l-1) at station VI to much lower value (9.2 ug l-1) at station VIII; however temporal variations were not significant.

Zooplankton composition and abundance

In total, 61 holoplankton taxa belonging to 7 categories: Protozoa, Cnidaria, Rotifera, Crustacea (Copepoda, Cladocera, Ostracoda, Amphipoda and Mysidacea), Chaetognatha, Mollusca, Larvacea, and 8 different types of meroplankton were also recorded (Table IV). The highest diversified communities (34 taxa) were reported at station V in autumn, while the lowest (10 taxa) occurred at station IX in summer (Fig. 2). Total zooplankton abundance averaged over all stations varied from 15x103 individual m-3 in spring at the station VI (Fig. 2). The meroplanktonic larvae dominated the community structure, representing > 39% of the total abundance. Dominant taxa were the larvae of Annelida and Cirripedia. Crustaceans were the most abundant component among the holoplankton, representing > 36 % and 39 % of the total abundance and species richness respectively. Copepods were the dominant organisms (17 taxa, mean abundance 1975 individual m-3).

The three major orders of planktonic copepods (calanoida, cyclopoida and harpacticoida) demonstrated different roles along the estuary. Although all three orders of copepods had similar diversity, cyclopoida numerical density was considerably higher (Table IV). Rotifers were the third important group, comprising 6 species and contributed 13.37% of the total abundance. Although, there was high diversity of protozoans (26 taxa), they contributed only 10.55 % of the total abundance. They were represented by three groups; Tintinnids, non-Tintinnid ciliates and Foraminifera. Tintinnids were the most diversified groups (14 species), followed by non-Tintinnid ciliates (8 species) and Foraminifera (4 species). Other occurring taxa included Cnidaria, Cladocera, Ostracoda, Amphipoda, Mysidacea, Pteropoda, Larvacea, and Chaetognatha were represented by a small number of species (Table IV), contributed collectively 19.68% and about 1% of the species richness and total abundance, respectively.

Table IV.- Zooplankton species, richness, and average abundance (Ind.m-3) of each category.

Category###Species###Mean Abundance

###Number###%###Ind.m-3###%

Protozoa###Foraminiferida###4###6.56###3.99###0.07

###Non Tintinnid ciliates###8###13.11###32.22###0.59

###Tintinnida###14###22.95###542.37###9.89

Cnidaria###1###1.64###1.67###0.03

Rotifera###6###9.84###733###13.37

Crustacea###Cladocera###3###4.92###6.66###0.12

###Ostracoda###1###1.64###3.03###0.06

###Copepod calanoida###5###8.20###136.47###2.49

###Copepod cyclopoida###5###8.20###414.03###7.55

###Copepod harpacticoida###7###11.48###122.14###2.23

###Copepod nauplii###-###-###403.3###7.35

###Copepod copepodites###-###-###899.23###16.40

###Amphipoda###1###1.64###0.11###<0.01

###Mysidacea###2###3.28###0.34###<0.01

Chaetognatha###1###1.64###6.87###0.13

Mollusca###1###1.64###31.5###0.57

Larvacea###2###3.28###8.99###0.16

Meroplankton###Medusa of Obelia spp.###-###-###138.62###2.53

###Polychaeta larvae###-###-###1134.3###20.68

###Cirripeda larvae###-###-###825###15.04

###Decapoda larvae###-###-###6.04###0.11

###Molluscs lamellibranch veligers###-###-###27.76###0.51

###Ascidiacea larvae###-###-###0.028###<0.01

###Crustacea eggs###-###-###5.79###0.11

###Fish eggs and larvae###-###-###0.58###<0.01

Community structure

All the recorded taxa were used for multivariate analysis. Results of hierarchical cluster analysis and multi-dimensional scaling are shown in Figure 3A and B. The cluster analysis and two-dimensional MDS plots divided the stations into three sectors (A, B, and C). The relative position of some stations within each sector reflects similarities in species composition among stations and also shows the anthropogenic influences. Sector A occupied the lower estuary stations (I, II, and III) and was influenced largely by seawater intrusion. Stations belonging to sector B were found in the middle region of the estuary and include most of sampling events from stations IV, V, VI, and VII. This sector being affected by maritime activities of the fisheries fleet and land runoff from the surrounding villages and Manzalla lake.

Sector C at the upper estuary includes station VIII and IX; being affected directly by domestic and agricultural wastes. Mean zooplankton abundance in sector A was higher than the other 2 sectors (Table V).

Table V.- zooplankton abundance (ind.m-3) at different sectors.

Sector###Mean abundance###Standard deviation

A###6211.8###3050.2

B###5897.4###5996.8

C###3439.4###4538.6

According to the analysis of similarity (SIMPER), the mean densities and occurrence frequencies of the taxa that contributed [greater than or equal to] 1% within sector similarity or between sector dissimilarity are summarized in Table VI. The listed taxa accounted more than 67% of within-group similarity across the three sectors. Some widely distributed taxa dominated the zooplankton community in the three sectors, such as polychaete larvae, cirriped larvae, the larval stages of copepods, and the copepod Oithona spp. The other taxa demonstrated different roles along the estuary. The copepod Euterpina acutifrons and the species of Paracalanidae dominated the community at the estuary downstream.

The tintinnid Favella serrata dominated the estuary midstream, together with the rotifer Synchaeta okai, and Synchaeta pectinata was the only species that dominated the community in the estuary upstream (Table VI). Note: a large number of species (e.g. Leprotintinnus nordgvistii, Acartia clausi, Mesochra rapiens, Microsetella norvegica, Cypridina mediterrianea, Sagitta friderici, Medusa of Obelia spp., and Molluscs Lamellibranch veligers) were recorded in high frequencies at sector A. Overall, the estuary midstream and upstream supported the highest densities of protozoans, rotifers, and most meroplanktonic larvae, whereas the estuary downstream supported the highest densities of copepods, cladocerans, ostracods, molluscs, chaetognths, and larvaceans.

Table VI.- Mean abundance (ind. m-3) and Frequency of occurrence (%) averaged across all sectors by station grouping of those species/taxa that contributed [greater than or equal to] 1% to within-group similarity or between-group dissimilarity. The values with asterisk indicate the dominancy.

Taxa###Abb.###Sector A###Sector B###Sector C###WAopt

###Stations I, II###Stations IV, V, Stations VIII###Chl a###Salinity

###and III###VI and VIII###and IX###(ugl-1) (gl-1)

Polychaeta larvae###Plar###954.6 (100)*###1157.6(100)*###1357.4(100)*###16.4###33.6

Cirripeda larvae###Crlar###364.5 (100)*###1118.3(100)*###929.4 (100)*###16###33.5

Copepodite stages###Cstag###1899.5 (100)*###493.1 (100)*###211.1 (100)*###14.2###36.6

Nauplii###Nlar###771.8 (100)*###245.8 (100)*###165.7 (100)###14###36.1

Synchaeta pectinata (Ehrenberg)###Spec###215.8 (25)###912.2 (100)*###304.8 (100)*###16.5###33.9

Oithona spp.###Oisp###868.3(100)*###241.5(100)*###201(100)*###16###36.9

Paracalanidae###Para###291.12 (100)*###57.7 (56.25)###20.7 (25)###9.1###37.83

Medusa of Obelia spp.###Mobe###137.4 (100)###203 (100)###11.7 (87.5)###18.6###34.8

Euterpina acutifrons (Dana)###Eacu###254.6 (100)*###21.4 (100)###24.5 (87.5)###11.6###36.9

Lamellibranch veligers###Lbve###50.9 (83.3)###14 (87.5)###21 (87.5)###11.3###35.7

Synchaeta okai (Sudzuki)###Soka###16.2 (41.7)###246.3 (93.8)*###61.4 (62.5)###20.4###33.4

Favella ehrenbergii (Claparede and Laachmann)###Fehr###4.8 (16.7 )###192.2 (50)###106.5 (75)###17.5###33.6

Decapoda larvae###Delar###8.3 (83.3)###4.8 (37.5)###5.2 (62.5)###14.2###36.1

Acartia clausi (Giesbrecht)###Acla###27.04 (75)###9.2 (87.5)###2.8 (62.5)###14.4###35.2

Synchaeta oblonga (Ehrenberg)###Sobl###4 (8.3)###80.2 (56.3)###43.7 (62.5)###23.1###33.7

Paramecium sp.###Pasp###1.9 (16.7)###11.64 (25)###37.7 (12.5)###20.9###31.9

Tintinnopsis campanula (Ehrenberg)###Tcom###9.2 (41.7)###10.3 (43.8)###2.4 (12.5)###18.4###35.3

Acartia discaudata (Giesbrecht)###Adis###4.4 (33.3)###13.4 (75)###3.4 (50)###15.7###34.4

Oikopleura dioica (Fol)###Odio###16.7 (66.7)###1 (18.8)###10.7 (25)###9.6###36.9

Halicyclops magniceps (Lilljeborg)###Hmag###5.1 (25)###2.1 (50)###4.2 (50)###11.5###32.5

Nitokra lacustris lacustris (Schmankevich)###Nlac###1.3 (16.7)###7.36 (56.3)###7.34 (75)###17###32.8

Podon intermedius (Lilljeborg)###Pinte###14.8 (50)###2 (31.3)###2.5 (12.5)###9.6###36.9

Synchaeta stylata (Wierzejski)###Ssty###154.9 (68.8)###65.8 (37.5)###18.9###32.2

Cypridina mediterrianea (Claus)###Cmed###6.1 (83.3)###1.7 (56.3)###1.1 (37.5)###13.8###35.8

Mesochra rapiens (Schmeil)###Mrap###9.7 (68.8)###8.8 (87.5)###16.6###32.8

Leprotintinnus nordqvistii (Brandt)###Lnor###138.6 (100)###0.3 (6.3)###4.9 (12.5)###5.5###38.4

Sagitta friderici (Ritter.Zahon)###Sfri###18.7 (91)###5.4 (43.8)###1 (25)###14.3###37.1

Acanthocyclops americanus (Marsh)###Aamer###16.8 (50)###15.3 (56.3)###21.4###32.1

Table VII.- Monte Carlo test with 999 permutations for the selection of environmental parameters.

Variables###Variance###F-ratio###P-value

###explained

Salinity###0.23###6.42###0.001

Temperature###0.13###4.01###0.001

PO4###0.09###2.32###0.01

Chlorophyll a###0.08###1.93###0.046

Dissolved oxygen###0.04###1.35###0.216

pH###0.04###1.32###0.207

NH4###0.03###1.09###0.329

SiO3###0.03###1.19###0.294

NO2###0.02###0.78###0.619

Sechi disk transparency###0.02###0.58###0.795

NO3###0.01###0.48###0.87

Linkage between zooplankton community and environmental variables

The Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) ordination indicates that environmental parameters had significant influences on zooplankton species distribution (P30%.

CONCLUSION

In general, the obstruction of Nile River flow by Farskour dam changed the properties of Damietta estuary water, with seawater now mixed primarily with land-based effluents. It seems that the Damietta estuary is now under environmental stress, that has resulted in changes in the species dynamics within the estuary. The abundance and diversity of zooplankton community structure was relatively homogenous within the high salinity region at the downstream part of the estuary, while considerable gradients in abundance and diversity of both meroplanktonic and holoplanktonic groups were found within the acute eutrophic region in the upstream part of the estuary.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

FWe acknowledge UNESCO Egypt for providing partial financial support for this research.

Statement of conflict of interest

Authors have declared no conflict of interest.

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Author:El-Tohamy, Wael S.; Hopcroft , Russell R.; Aziz, Nagwa E.M. Abdel
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Oct 31, 2018
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