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Studies on Seasonal and Spatial Distribution of Zooplankton Communities and Their Diversity Indices at Chashma Lake, Pakistan.

Byline: Huma Ayub, Iftikhar Ahmad, Syed Lal Shah, Muhammad Zafarullah Bhatti, Nuzhat Shafi and Mazhar Qayyum


The study was conducted to investigate the seasonal and spatial distribution of zooplankton species at Chashma Lake during June 2014 to May 2015. The samples were collected from three partially separated stations of the Chashma Lake on a monthly basis. A total 42 species of zooplankton were identified from the Chashma Lake belonging to three taxa viz.; copepoda, rotifera and cladocera. The diversity of the zooplankton species in the lake was determined by richness and evenness indices, which were found as follows; Margalef Index 1.30 to 3.87, Shannon's Index 2.54 to 3.68, Simpson Index 0.92 to 0.97, Simpson's Reciprocal Index 12.25 to 37.69 and Pielou's Evenness Index 0.94 to 1.0. The zooplankton community was found abundant in summer as compared to winter. The copepods were found dominant followed by rotifers and cladocerans for entire study period.

The spatial distribution of zooplankton was not found prominent as compared to their seasonal distribution. However, rotifers showed spatial difference among sampling stations (ANOVA, p-value 0.05). Whereas, the significant difference for rotifers was found between S1 and S3 and between S1 and S2 (ANOVA, p-value 0.05).

The abundance of zooplankton community in Chashma Lake was found throughout the year and almost at all stations, however, it was more prominent in summer months. Sulehria et al. (2009), Salve and Hiware (2010) and Devaraju (2015) have reported similar findings in their work. Altindag et al. (2007) observed dominance of rotifers in their study in Mogan Lake. In current study, for zooplankton species, Shannon's Diversity, Margalef value, Simpson's Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal index values were also found. Shannon diversity is used to determine the diversity of a particular habitat and also for a comparison of various habitats for the abundance of the species (Clarke and Warwick, 2001).

Evenness is a vital factor of diversity indices which presents the relation between the frequencies of species (Pielou, 1969) and it evaluates the relative abundance of different species which make richness of a habitat (Leinster and Cobbold, 2012). The Simpson index is used not only for counting the number of species, but also to find out the ratio of each species (Simpson, 1949). Simpson describes the possibility of any two individuals randomly caught belonging to different species (Bibi and Ali, 2013). Margalef index accounts for species richness of a habitat by the Gleason coefficient (Margalef, 1958). The index values rely on the number of species and not on the species frequencies.

In current study, the values for all measured indices were high in summer months and are in agreement with Maqbool et al. (2014). The values for diversity indices reveal that the zooplankton communities were heterogeneous by diversity index values especially when the difference between maximum and minimum values was high. During this study, it was also found that among three taxa of zooplankton, the copepods were dominant in occurrence from March to April, and were masked by rotifers in winter. Whereas, the cladocerans followed the same pattern as of copepods but were least abundant. Similar results have been reported by Mwaluma et al. (2003), Mahar et al. (2008), Maqbool et al. (2014) and Sulehria et al. (2009).

Among rotifers, Asplancha priodonta was more prevailing in winter season, while other species like Lecane arcula, Polyarthra species, Euchlanis triquetra, Keratella tropica and Brachionus havanaensis were found abundant in summer. Similar findings have been reported by many researchers (Nogueira, 2001; Sampaio et al., 2002; Sulehria and Malik, 2012). Saddozai et al. (2015) found that Keratella spp. were dominant in April and July. Yagci (2014) also observed more Keratella from Lake Golhisar, Turkey. It is also observed that Asplancha priodonta and Keratella valga were more prevalent at S3, while other species like Polyathra spp., Brachionus spp., Keratella tropica and Euchlanis triquetra were more abundant at S1. Among cladocerans, the Cerodaphnia cornuta, Daphnia and Alona were found more prominent in late winter and early spring at Chashma Lake.

This may be due to low population of Cyanophyta in winter as compared to summer, which is not favored by Daphnia species, as reported by Kiss (2002). The Chydorus poppie and Cerodaphnia reticulate were found more prevailing in May and June whereas, Scapholeberis kingi and Macrothrix rosea were found abundant in May, June and July. This finding is in agreement with Mahar et al. (2008). Bosmina longirostris and Scapholeberis kingi showed their preference towards S1 and Cerodaphnia cornuta were higher at S3, while Alona guttata and Alona recticulata were more prevalent at S2. Whereas, all species of copepods were more abundant in summer as compared to winter.

Furthermore, Macrocyclops fuscus, Diacyclops bicuspidatus and Eucyclops species were more prevalent at S1, whereas, Mesocyclop leukarti was more abundant at S3. Yildiz et al. (2007) and Ergonul et al. (2016) also observed the abundance of Keratella spp. and Bosmina longirostris in Anatolian lakes. The copepods found from Chashma Lake were abundant in summer and this finding is in agreement with Jhoshi (2011), Maqbool et al. (2014) and Devaraju (2015).


It is concluded that the Chashma Lake is very rich in zooplankton diversity in summer than in winter. The values of diversity indices reflect that zooplankton are more prevalent and rich in summer, whilst in terms of evenness, zooplankton community in the lake was found equitable.


We are greatly thankful to Fisheries Department, Government of Punjab, for providing logistic facilities for samples collection at Chashma Lake and to Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad, for laboratory facilities and identification of zooplankton species.

Statement of conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.


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Author:Ayub, Huma; Ahmad, Iftikhar; Shah, Syed Lal; Bhatti, Muhammad Zafarullah; Shafi, Nuzhat; Qayyum, Maz
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 31, 2018
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