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Freshwater fish fauna of Algeria. The fish fauna of inland waters of Great-Kabylia.

INTRODUCTION

Algeria, by its geographical position in the west of the Mediterranean, between the southwest of Europe and the Ethiopian region, is confers it a special interest for fauna and biogeographic studies. The great diversity of its relief and the importance of its river system explain the diversity and endemism of its fauna in general and of freshwater fish in particular.

The fish fauna of Algerian continental waters forms one part of the sum that constitutes the Maghrebi ichthyologic province. The latter forming a hinge zone between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates is recognized as having played an important role in the dispersion of this fauna [47, 34]. This region, compared to Mediterranean Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, has a relatively poor biological diversity. Its fish fauna is characterized by the predominance of Cyprinidae with nearly half of indigenous species of Algerian aquatic continental environments [39].

Studies on fish fauna of inland waters in Algeria have not boomed as is the case for marine ecosystems. The works available, typically limited in space and time, are devoted mostly to systematics and rarely to ecology and biogeography [46, 43, 48, 49, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 13, 1, 45, 10, 25, 11].

The most recent ichthyological studies in the Algerian territory are those of [53] on fish fauna of Hoggar and Tassili, [16] on fish fauna of the Mellah lagoon, [9] on genus Aphanius, [6] on fish fauna of Soummam, [30] on fish fauna of Algerian inland waters, [38, 39] on the distribution of Algerian freshwater fish, [17] on the fish fauna of inland waters in the region of the Aures and northern Sahara, [24] on the upper Cheliff dam lakes. As a consequence, more than 70 species are reported or described in the literature concerning the Algerian freshwater fish. However, it should be noted that their taxonomy is questionable, their determination is without doubt inaccurate or should at least be confirmed, and their distribution and status are often inaccurate. Moreover, the current situation of this wildlife is precarious and weakened by the growing economic activities, destruction and fragmentation of habitat, population pressure and drought. That is why, to adopt adequate measures to preserve fishery resources in Algeria, it is important to update the data on systematic, distribution and ecology of the species, and to assess the factors responsible for the decline of this fish fauna.

The aim of this study was to (1) achieve a synthesis of knowledge on the overall composition of ichthyologic population of Algerian inland waters, (2) an inventory of freshwater fish species in Great Kabylia.

This work done on aquatic continental environments of Great Kabylia is original to the extent that no study has been made there before. It seemed interesting to focus on the investigations of the abiotic components to determine their influence on the composition and structure of the ichthyologic population.

Study sites and methods:

Study sites:

The work has been conducted in the area of Great Kabylia: the Sebaou basin. The latter occupies a central location in the Tell Atlas between 36[degrees]54' and 36[degrees]53' north latitude and between 3[degrees]50' and 4[degrees]25' east longitude. The Sebaou basin is part of the perimediterranean alpine orogeny. It occupies an area of approximately 4000 [km.sup.2]. It starts in the north side of the massif of Djurdjura (alt. 2308 m) and the southern slopes of the Coast Range (alt. 800m) and extends to its mouth which is Takdemt near the town of Dellys (36[degrees]54'43.5"-N 3[degrees]50'39.2" E), on the Mediterranean coast.

The Sebaou basin is drained by a dense river network (Fig. 1). Its main tributaries are on the left bank and the east, Boubhir Wadi * that drains runoff from the massif of Akfadou (Akfadou col alt. 1574m, Chelata col alt. 1421m) and the eastern ridge of the Djurdjura (Tirourda col alt. 1960m) in the center of wadi Aissi that collects runoff from the Djurdjura median dorsal (Tizi-N'Kouilal col alt. 1531m, Azrou N'Chira alt. 1289m), west of Bougdoura wadi that drains runoff of western ridge of Djurdjura (Thala Guilef alt. 1680 m, Jebel Haizer alt. 2093m). The tributaries of the right bank are relatively short (about ten km long): Diss wadi, Tamda wadi, Stita wadi, and have smaller flows. They collect all south side flows of the Coast Range. The study area has, in addition to the temporary standing water (small dams, bogs), four dams (Tab. 1).

The Sebaou basin is characterized by a fluctuating hydrologic cycle. Periods of low water levels are between June and October, while the maximum flow occurs in December, January and/or February for winter regime, and in March-April for spring. In the massif of Djurdjura and Akfadou (Alt. > 1000 m), the annual averages of rain full range from 1200 mm and around 800 mm in the Sebaou valley [36, 37]. The temperature variations are influenced mainly by altitude. In the middle and lower flows of rivers, the maximum water temperature is high (25-30[degrees] C) and annual thermal amplitudes oscillate around 20[degrees]C. In the upper parts, the maximum temperature does not exceed 20[degrees]C.

The hydrographic Sebaou basin network is disrupted by various anthropogenic attacks. The urban and industrial wastes are the main pollutants of rivers outside agricultural activities and sand extractions. These downgrades have led to the fragmentation of the environmental and threaten aquatic life.

Methods:

The examined sampling of fish was performed by using two techniques:

--Electric fishing whose effectiveness depends on the characteristics of the current used, mineralization and water temperature, and depth. Its implementation to deep and turbid areas seemed quite delicate.

--The gill net fishery, efficient method for sampling average or waterways large sizes waterways. It permits to fish closer to the banks of dams. However, this technique is particularly selective in relation to the size and species of fish. The net used is a trammel net of 50 m long and 1,5 m high. It consists of three superimposed layers: two layers large mesh (270 mm) surrounding a central web to a smaller mesh size (50 mm). The set has a head rope equipped with floats and a lower lead line.

Other means of capture were implemented to obtain other samples. So, we used fish traps (80 cm long and 15 mm mesh) and fishing rods to capture living individuals.

Sampling was carried out in 12 stations (Fig. 1). Four were chosen at Sebaou Wadi (main course): Freha, Tamada, Draa Ben Khedda, Takdamt), four in the major tributaries (boubhir Wadi 1, Ai'ssi Wadi 2, Bougdoura Wadi 1) and four at dams (Djebla, Taksebt, Draa El Mizan, Ain Zaouia). The environmental characteristics of the 12 sampling stations are listed in Appendix 1. In order to achieve the most exhaustive inventory, some sites have undergone several samples: May-June 2012 and May-June 2013. In addition, we collected information of samples donor (anglers) on capture performed (quality and quantity). The fish caught were identified through usually used morphological and morphometric characters, reported in the literature [43, 44, 1, 2, 40, 4].

To analyze the structure and fish assemblages, factorial correspondence analysis (AFC) [7, 23] were performed with the software Statistica 6.0, departing from presence-absence data. The research cores affinity between variables or between observations is made possible through the hierarchical classification method [50] used from the coordinates of variables and observations along the axes of the AFC. This method is to gather, in the same group, the data that have a significant degree of similarity.

Results:

Bibliographic inventory of the fish fauna of inland waters in Algeria:

The established inventory of Algerian fish fauna consists of 65 species split into 22 families and 46 kinds (Appendix 2). Thirty-seven are natives among whose six are endemic and 28 are introduced. The fish fauna is characterized by the predominance of Cyprinidae family members with 14 kinds and 20 species and in a lesser extent Cichlidae (5 kinds, 8 species), Mugilidae (3 kinds, 5 species), and Cyprinodontidae (1 kinds, 4 species). The rest of the families are represented by only one or two species. Some dominance in the generic qualitative level detach from the community. It is the Barbus genus that is the most diversified with six species among which Barbus deserti and Barbus biscarensis are Saharan endemics. However, it should be noted that the systematic and specific status of North African barbels require firstly taxonomic revision [51] despite the fact that morphologically we can easily distinguish these taxa [26]. Among the native species, three are on the red list of endangered or near-threatened by IUCN [52] (Aphanius iberus, Aphanius saourensis and Haplochromis desfontainii).

Concerning the introduced species in Algeria, today there are 28 species: carp as a whole, zander, catfish, black bass for aquaculture purposes, mosquito fish for biological control or to reduce eutrophication in dams. These species seem to be well acclimatized, but can be an ecological threat to the rest of the local fish fauna in certain habitats. As for the unintentional introduction of Pseudorasbora parva, it gradually colonizes the wadis and can be considered potentially harmful.

The ichtyofauna of Great-Kabylia:

The fish fauna of inland waters of Great Kabylia has remarkably attracted little attention. The only previous data we have are those of [45] which identified two species in Wadi Sebaou (Barbus callensis and Anguilla Anguilla).

The study carried out in the Sebaou basin has resulted in the identification of 16 species belonging to 7 families and 14 genera (Tab. 2). The Cyprinidae with 9 species (56.25% of the stand), are the most important part of this settlement. The other families are represented by only one or two species. Seven species are observed in lentic environment (Micropterus salmoides, Aristichtys nobilis, Carassius auratus, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinus carpio specularis, Hypophtalmichthys molitrix, Sander lucioperca), four in lotic environment (Alosa Alosa, Alosa fallax, Mugil cephalus, Petromyzon marinus) and five are common to both environments (Anguilla Anguilla, Barbus setivimensis, Cyprinus carpio carpio, Rutilus rutilus, Alburnus alburnus). Representatives of the freshwater fish fauna are 12 in number; only two are natives (Anguilla Anguilla, Barbus setivimensis). The other ten are rather introduced species for aquaculture purposes and the fight against eutrophication of dams. Regarding water euryhaline species, they are four in number: Alosa Alosa, Alosa fallax, Mugil cephalus, Petromyzon marinus. They go up the rivers to search for food.

Considering the complexity of the relations between the biological and ecological characteristics and stand structure, a multivariate analysis of a contingency table crossing stations and species was performed by means of an AFC. Then, an hierarchical ascending classification calculated from coordinates readings on the factorial axes allowed to know at what level the frequently associated species are connected. The results obtained with this classification and simultaneous examination of the positions of faunal surveys on F1-F2 Plans (Fig. 2 and 3) allowed to highlight three successive groups of species along the structure. The F1-F2 AFC factorial is the one which extracts the maximum faunal information. These first two axes account for over 57% of the total inertia (F1: 36.69%, F2: 20.96%). However, considering the objectives of this study, it was not essential to determine the exact meaning of each axis, but rather to distinguish species groups in terms consistent with their distribution.

The distribution of fish and stations is performed according to a gradient roughly oriented along F1 axis. The most common species, with wide ecological amplitude, representative of bodies of water taken together (group 3), occupy the center of the graph (Barbus setivimensis, Cyprinus carpio carpio, Anguilla Anguilla). At the negative end of F1 axis, amphihaline species known for their great euryhalinity, i.e. group 1 which is constituted of Alosa Alosa, Alosa fallax, Mugil cephalus, are clearly marginalized. This group of species is the settlement characteristic of lowland rivers (stations Tak, Dbk, Freh, Boub). It is characterized by a certain homogeneity of the fauna structure and biological characteristics. This group of species is markedly different from settlement Taks, Dem, Azao and AmoA stations in positive position of axis 1 which also shows strong heterogeneity (group 2). This group is composed of Petromyzon marinus, species characteristic of the upstream of Aissi wadi (AmoA), Rutilus rutilus and Albirnus albirnus, common species to AmoA station (up sream of Aissi wadi) and Taks (Taksebt dam), and Aristichtys nobilis , Hypophtalmichthys molitrix, Carassius auratus, Cyprinus carpio var. specularis, Sander lucioperca, Ctenopharyngodon idella, Micropterus salmoides, species introduced and frequently dumped into artificial reservoirs (stations: Taks, Azao, Dem, Djeb).

Discussion:

Ichtyofauna from Algeria:

Until recently, very few studies have been devoted to the ichtyofauna of the continental waters of Algeria.

[42] was the author of the first monograph of the Algerian freshwater fish. Then, apart from attempts of recent bibliographical compilations [38, 39, 6, 30] and some partial studies [1, 2, 25, 11], no updated distribution catalog of Algerian freshwater fish has been developed. More recently, in the context of biodiversity projects in continental aquatic environments, regional inventories of fish fauna have been carried out [53, 6, 17, 24] and allowed a first view of the ichthyan diversity of the continental waters of Algeria.

The freshwater fish fauna of Algeria is composed of 65 species belonging to 22 families and 46 genera. Thirty seven species were found to be autochthonous and twenty eight have been introduced (Appendix 2). In accordance to the fish fauna of the rest of the Mediterranean basin, Cyprinidae species now predominate [33, 27, 8, 5]. In Algeria, this family represents 30.77% of the recorded species. However, the autochthonous fish species were mostly Cichlidae (8 species), Cyprinidae (20 species) especially the genus Barbus (6 species), and Cyprinodontidae of the genus Aphanius (4 species). Among autochthonous species, six are endemic: Barbus deserti, Barbus biscarensis, Aphanius saourensis, Aphanius apodus, Pseudophoxinus callensis, and Haplochromis desfontainii. The latter has the status of endangered species in the red list of IUCN [52].

On a systematic level, several studies have reported the difficulties encountered in distinguishing between Barbus, Aphanius and Gambusia species by referring to morphological characteristics, given their great similarities and many hybrids and local varieties [25, 5]. Traditionally, studies on freshwater fishes in North Africa have focused on the description of diversity based on morphological characters. However, morphological characters used in classical works [12, 43, 44] such as meristic characters and body measurements, did not provide reliable keys for species identifications [1] results obtained often overlap, and a correct identification becomes difficult if not impossible. Consequently, most authors considered the number of taxa described for some genera unreasonably high. i.e. in the genus Barbus, 12 nomimal species and 6 varieties have been described in North Africa [35]. The main problem is that the descriptions are often based on a small number of preserved specimens which usually constrains adequate study of intraspecific variation. As a result, the biogeography based on the results of these classical studies is apparently not correct. i.e. a recent study of molecular polymorphism [41] showed that the species Barbus callensis Valenciennes, 1842, actually comprises two species: Barbus callensis Pellegrin, 1921 whose range is limited to the region of El-Kala (North-East of Algeria) and Barbus setivimensis Pellegrin, 1939 which occupies the rest of northern Algeria. Considering these divergences, the systematic and the specific status of North African barbels in general and of Algeria in particular, require a more systematic revision.

Specific diversity in Algerian continental waters is comparable to that found around the Mediterranean basin: 70 species in France [32], 36 in Portugal [3], 40 in Spain [27], 71 in Italy [8], 46 in Morocco [5] and 9 species in the northern Tunisian rivers [33].

Scientific knowledge of the ichthyofauna of Algeria is recent and is still a field insufficiently explored. Many watersheds, lakes, chotts and other water points (fountains, foggaras, wells...) are not yet explored and have not yet been the subject of a systematic ichthylogical inventory. Twenty two fish families, belonging to 65 species and 46 genera, are currently listed [39]. It is likely that this list is not yet complete and the ichtyofauna specific to each river basin is still poorly known.

The ichtyofauna of Great-Kabylia:

The fish inventory carried out in this study resulted in the identification of 16 species belonging to 7 families and 14 genera. It represents 24.61% of all the known species of Algeria. It is characterized by the predominance of Cyprinidae: 9 species, or 56.25% of the stand. The other families are represented by only one or two species. This study provides the first qualitative inventory of the fish fauna of the continental waters of Great-Kabylia. All the species listed here have already been described in the literature.

The specific wealth encountered is similar to that observed in the Soummam: 19 species, 11 families, 17 genera [6], in the Aures region: 14 species, 5 families, 13 genera [17] and in the upper Cheliff: 10 species, 4 families, 9 genera [24].

Among the 16 species caught, five are amphihaline migratory species (Alosa alosa, Alosa fallax, Mugil cephalus, Petromyzon marinus, Anguilla anguilla) and 11 exclusively freshwater species, 10 of which have been introduced as part of water body replanting programs. For the needs of aquaculture and the fight against the eutrophication of dams, and only one species (Barbus setivimensis) is indigenous.

The analysis of the qualitative data based on the presence-absence of the species highlights the faunistic richness of the stations and the faunistic affinity between the stations. The results reveal some similarities in stand structure, but also associations of significantly different species. The most common species (Barbus setivimensis, Cyprinus carpio carpio, Anguilla anguilla) colonize all types of habitats (rivers and dams) with no particular ecological requirements. The amphihaline species (Alosa alosa, Alosa fallax, Mugil cephalus) are typical of lowland streams, and the rest of the species show a strong heterogeneity of structure. The presence of Petromyzon marinus observed at the station AmoA (upstream of Aissi Wadi) and Rutilus rutilus--Alburnus alburnus, identified in two types of environments (Watercourse and dam), typical of watercourses in particular Aissi Wadi, can be interpreted as a residue of the species initially present in the rivers before the construction of the Taksebt dam.

The water bodies of Great-Kabylia have known the introduction of several species: Cyprinus carpio, Aristichtys nobilis, Ctenopharyngodon idella and Hypophtalmichthys molitrix. The purpose of these introductions was aquaculture and reducing the eutrophication of dams. Three other species were recently found in the Taksebt reservoir: Alburnus alburnus, Carassius auratus and Rutilus rutilus. These species are probably part of the 2005 and 2006 introduction of carps. These introductions, without prior studies of their possible impacts on indigenous species, may lead to the regression or even disappearance of indigenous species. As in the rest of the world, the introduction of fish has many consequences that affect biodiversity: competition phenomena [18, 31], predation [42], hybridization [34], disease transmission [29] and habitat modification [40].

The current situation of the ichtyofauna of Algeria in general and of Great-Kabylia in particular is precarious and fragilized by the increasing economic activities, destruction of natural environments, population pressure and drought. In fact, continental aquatic ecosystems have become receptacles of all forms of pollution. The main impacts are on rivers, which are the main collectors of urban and/or industrial sewage. This pollution is one of the factors of decline and/or extinction of indigenous fish. Moreover, the development (dam construction, diversion of watercourses, removal of gravel) on the wadis jeopardizes the diversity of fish fauna; they are also responsible for this decline. This species is very sensitive to the risks of extinction due to the decrease in the area and the quality of its habitat [28]. The exclusive presence of indigenous species in natural habitats, particularly in watercourses, emphasizes the importance of these habitats in the conservation of rare and/or special species.

Conclusion:

This study provides the first qualitative inventory of the fish fauna of the continental waters of GreatKabylia. However, as conservation efforts in Algerian continental aquatic environments are constrained by a variety of factors including lack of ecological information, much more work is needed on the life histories and distributional ecology of freshwater fish. In this way we could better understand the consequences of land degradation and its effects on the integrity and conservation of running waters in Algerian rivers.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors gratefully acknowledge Mrs Ouiza Smail and Mr Mohammed Mofredj for their English translation work.

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(1) Dhya LOUNACI-DAOUDI, (1) Abdelkader LOUNACI and (2) Abdeslam ARAB

(1) Departement de Biologie, Faculte des Sciences Biologiques et Sciences Agronomiques, Universite MouloudMammeri de Tizi-Ouzou, B.P. 17, 15000, Algerie

(2) Laboratoire de la Dynamique et de la Biodiversite, Faculte des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Universite des Sciences et de la Technologie Houari Boumediene, B.P. 39 Alger, Algerie.

Address For Correspondence:

Pr LOUNACI Abdelkader, Departement de Biologie, Faculte des Sciences Biologiques et Sciences Agronomiques, Universite Mouloud Mammeri de Tizi-Ouzou, B.P. 17, 15000, Algerie.

E-mail: lounaci@yahoo.fr; Tel : + 213 772 159 379

Received 12 August 2016; Accepted 17 December 2016; Available online 22 December 2016

Caption: Fig. 1: Map of the Sebaou catchment showing the location of the sampling sites * Wadi = Arabic word for a temporary watercourse.

Caption: Fig. 2: F1 x F2 plane of the correspondence analysis run with species presence-absence data. Stations (in bold) and species (in italic) are indicate in table 2.

Caption: Fig. 3: Cluster analysis of the 2 first axis coordinates of the correspondence analysis showing the 3 species
Table 1: The dams of Great-Kabylia

locality        Capacity (x   geographical coordinates
                [10.sup.6]
                [m.sup.3])

Ain Zaouia      1.4           36[degrees]32'18.5" N/
                              3[degrees]52'18.8"E

Draa El Mizan   1.52          36[degrees]33'48.8"N/
                              3[degrees]50'15.7"E

Taksebt         180           36[degrees]40'25.8"N/
                              4[degrees]07'18.6"E

Djebla          3             36[degrees]46'27.7"N/
                              4[degrees]12'31.3"E

locality        Installation    maximum
                date            depth (m)

Ain Zaouia      1985            26

Draa El Mizan   1974            23

Taksebt         2002            72

Djebla          1969            19

Table 2: List of freshwater fish of Great-Kabylia
(1: present, empty box: absent)

                                        Stady sites

                                        Water courses

                                  Takdemt   Draa Ben   Tamda
                                   (Tak)     Khedda    (Tam)
                                             (Dbk)

Anguillidae             Species
                        code

Anguilla anguilla       Aang         1         1         1

Centrarchidae

Micropterus salmoides   Msal

lupeiidae

Alosa alosa             Aalo         1         1
Alosa fallax            Afal         1         1

Cyprinidae

Alburnus alburnus       Aalb
Aristichtys nobilis     Anob
Barbus setivimensis     Bset                   1         1
Carassius auratus       Caur
Ctenopharyngodon        Cide
  idella
Cyprinus carpio         Ccco                   1         1
  var.communis
Cyprinus carpio         Ccsp
  var. specularis
Hypophtalmichthys       Hmol
  molitrix
Rutilus rutilus         Rrut

Mugilidae

Mugil cephalus          Mcep         1         1

Percidae

Sander lucioperca       Sluc

Petromyzontidae

Petromyzon marinus      Pmar

                                           Stady sites

                                          Water courses

                                  Freha    Boubhir   Oued Aissi
                                  (Freh)   (Boub)    Aval (AvaA)

Anguillidae             Species
                        code

Anguilla anguilla       Aang        1         1           1

Centrarchidae

Micropterus salmoides   Msal

lupeiidae

Alosa alosa             Aalo        1         1
Alosa fallax            Afal                  1

Cyprinidae

Alburnus alburnus       Aalb
Aristichtys nobilis     Anob
Barbus setivimensis     Bset        1         1           1
Carassius auratus       Caur
Ctenopharyngodon        Cide
  idella
Cyprinus carpio         Ccco                  1           1
  var.communis
Cyprinus carpio         Ccsp
  var. specularis
Hypophtalmichthys       Hmol
  molitrix
Rutilus rutilus         Rrut

Mugilidae

Mugil cephalus          Mcep                  1           1

Percidae

Sander lucioperca       Sluc

Petromyzontidae

Petromyzon marinus      Pmar

                                         Stady sites

                                         Water courses        Dams

                                   Oued Aissi    Bougdoura   Djebla
                                  Amont (AmoA)    (Boug)     (Djeb)

Anguillidae             Species
                        code

Anguilla anguilla       Aang           1             1         1

Centrarchidae

Micropterus salmoides   Msal

lupeiidae

Alosa alosa             Aalo
Alosa fallax            Afal

Cyprinidae

Alburnus alburnus       Aalb           1
Aristichtys nobilis     Anob
Barbus setivimensis     Bset           1                       1
Carassius auratus       Caur
Ctenopharyngodon        Cide
  idella
Cyprinus carpio         Ccco           1             1         1
  var.communis
Cyprinus carpio         Ccsp
  var. specularis
Hypophtalmichthys       Hmol
  molitrix
Rutilus rutilus         Rrut           1

Mugilidae

Mugil cephalus          Mcep

Percidae

Sander lucioperca       Sluc

Petromyzontidae

Petromyzon marinus      Pmar           1

                                           Stady sites

                                              Dams

                                  Taksebt   Draa-El-   Ain Zaouia
                                  (Taks)     Mizane      (Azao)
                                             (Dem)

Anguillidae             Species
                        code

Anguilla anguilla       Aang         1         1           1

Centrarchidae

Micropterus salmoides   Msal                   1

lupeiidae

Alosa alosa             Aalo
Alosa fallax            Afal

Cyprinidae

Alburnus alburnus       Aalb         1
Aristichtys nobilis     Anob         1
Barbus setivimensis     Bset         1         1           1
Carassius auratus       Caur         1
Ctenopharyngodon        Cide         1         1
  idella
Cyprinus carpio         Ccco         1         1           1
  var.communis
Cyprinus carpio         Ccsp         1
  var. specularis
Hypophtalmichthys       Hmol         1
  molitrix
Rutilus rutilus         Rrut         1

Mugilidae

Mugil cephalus          Mcep

Percidae

Sander lucioperca       Sluc         1         1           1

Petromyzontidae

Petromyzon marinus      Pmar
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Author:Lounaci-Daoudi, Dhya; Lounaci, Abdelkader; Arab, Abdeslam
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Date:Dec 1, 2016
Words:5340
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