Initial investigations into dynamics of mesozooplankton community structure in Algoa Bay, South Africa

Dali, Luzuko O'Brian (2011) Initial investigations into dynamics of mesozooplankton community structure in Algoa Bay, South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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As part of a long-term monitoring programme initiated by the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) Elwandle Node, the spatio-temporal dynamics of mesozooplankton (200–2000 μm) community structure in Algoa Bay, on the Eastern Cape coastline of southern Africa, was investigated in summer and winter of 2008. Physical-chemical and biological variables were measured at selected sites in the eastern and western sectors of the Bay. During summer, nutrient rich waters upwelling into the eastern sector of the Bay contributed to significant spatial variation in selected physical-chemical variables. During winter, virtually no significant spatial patterns in the physical-chemical variables were observed (P>0.05 in all cases). For the majority of physical-chemical variables, no significant seasonal patterns in values were detected (P>0.05 in all cases). Notable exceptions were water column stability and water temperatures which were highest during summer, and seston, turbidity and ammonium concentrations which attained the highest values in winter. The striking seasonal pattern observed in the water column stability, coupled with the upwelling event, coincided with a strong seasonal pattern in the total surface and integrated chlorophyll-a concentrations within the Bay. During summer, the total surface phytoplankton biomass ranged from 1.87–3.11 μg.L⁻¹ and the integrated biomass values between 44.6 and 89.1 mg chl-a m⁻². In winter, surface chl-a concentrations ranged from 0.49 to 0.55 μg.L⁻¹ and integrated biomass from 13.5 to 13.8 mg chl-a m⁻². During both seasons, the large microphytoplankton (>20 μm) fraction contributed the most (>80%) to the total phytoplankton biomass suggesting that phytoplankton growth is not nutrient limited within the Bay. The total mesozooplankton abundance and biomass values during summer varied between 10088.92 and 28283.21 ind.m⁻³ and between 76.59 and 161.94 mg.m⁻³, respectively. During winter, total abundance and biomass of mesozooplankton within the Bay were significantly lower, ranging from 2392.49 to 11145.29 ind.m⁻³, and from 34.49 to 42.49 mg.m⁻³, respectively (P<0.05). During both seasons, cosmopolitan copepod species 200–500μm in size dominated the total mesozooplankton counts, numerically and in biomass. Hierarchical cluster analyses identified distinct zooplankton groupings within the Bay during both the summer (three groupings) and winter (four groupings) surveys. The different groupings identified during the two seasons were not associated with any specific geographic region or hydrological feature. Nonetheless, a distinct seasonal pattern in the mesozooplankton community was evident, largely reflecting the increased abundance of mesozooplankton during the summer survey. Canonical Correspondence Analyses (CCA) indicated that the zooplankton community structure within Algoa Bay reflected a complex interaction between physical-chemical (e.g. temperature, water column stability, turbidity, and nitrate, dissolved oxygen and nitrite concentrations) and biological factors (e.g. microphytoplankton and picophytoplankton concentrations). These data provide baseline information towards long-term monitoring programs that will be conducted in Algoa Bay, as part of the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), in the near future.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:South African Environmental Observation Network, SAEON, Elwandle Node, Mesozooplankton, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Physical-chemical vaiables, Biological variables, Spatial variation, Seasonal patterns, Water column stability, Temperature, Phytoplankton biomass, Cosmopolitan copepod species, Monitoring programs
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Invertebrates
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
Supervisors:Froneman, William P.
ID Code:3349
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:07 Sep 2012 13:42
Last Modified:07 Sep 2012 13:42
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