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Species composition, abundance and distribution of phytoplankton in the coastal waters off Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

Research Paper | May 1, 2018

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Edward Moto, Margareth Kywelyanga, Thomas Lyimo, Mariam Hamisi

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.12( 5), 107-118, May 2018


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Species composition, abundance and distribution of phytoplankton were studied in Zanzibar coastal waters for one year (May 2012 – May 2013) at two sites, Bawe and Chwaka Bay. The objective of this study was to quantify the health ecosystem of Zanzibar coastal waters as phytoplankton are good indicator in studying an ecosystem. A total of 260 species belonging to 94 genera and 6 classes were recorded at both sites. The phytoplankton assemblage was dominated by Bacillariophyceae (diatoms) which accounted for 70% of the total phytoplankton. Dinoflagellates ranked second in terms of abundance (24%). Cyanophyceae accounted for 5% of the total phytoplankton and less than 1% of the total standing crop was attributed to chlorophyceae, dictyochophyceae and crysophyceae. Abundant concentrations of diatoms composed mostly of several species which were observed throughout the sampling time which included Chaetoceros sp, Rhizosolenia sp, Thalassiothrix sp, Nitzschia sp, Guinardia sp, Bacteriastrum sp, Pleurosigma sp and Coscinodiscus sp. Diatoms were abundant due to their resilient ability to withstand the varied environmental factors. Some dinoflagellates in low densities were observed at both sites. The highest phytoplankton density was 9189 cells/l, while the lowest density was 2227 cells/l recorded at Bawe and Chwaka Bay, respectively. Southeast monsoon (SEM) season phytoplankton (15244 counts/l) were higher than the Northeast monsoon (NEM) season (13982 counts/ml). Also species diversity was higher during the SEM than the NEM (t =3.155, p = 0.0058). Higher abundance and diversity during SEM might be attributed by low sea surface temperature, higher salinity, sulphate and nitrate levels.


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Species composition, abundance and distribution of phytoplankton in the coastal waters off Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

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