Diversity of bloom forming harmful algal species in the central Bonny Estuary, Niger delta, Nigeria
Keywords:Distribution, season, abundance, HAS, environmental gradients
This study was carried out from December 2018 to November 2019 to examine the distribution and abundance of harmful algal species (HAS) in the central Bonny estuary. Seven sampling stations were established with ArcGIS tool. Microalgae species were sampled with 20 mm mesh plankton net. Nutrients were analyzed in the laboratory using the APHA 4500 Method, while physicochemical characteristics were determined in situ. Results revealed that environmental gradients were adequate to support life in that part of the estuary except for phosphate (2.90 ± 0.22-9.48 ± 1.06 mg l-1). A total of 31 HASs categorized into 17 genera and three classes were determined: Bacillariophyceae (29 species), Chlorophyceae and Cyanophyceae (one species each). Navicula amphibola had the highest density (4.713 103 cells l-1) while Pinnularia divergens recorded the lowest density (0.00049 103 cells l-1). Total density values decreased across seasons with 9.157 103 cells l-1 in dry season and 8.907 103 cells l-1 in wet season. Checklist of species across stations showed that five species were distributed across the seven stations, while two were found only in Station 2 and 7. Diversity indices revealed Shannon’s index ranged between 3.17 and 3.25 and species evenness ranged between 0.78 and 0.88, while Margalef range value (3.09-3.31) was considered moderately stable. Therefore, there is a need for proper management practices which could help to reduce the level of nutrient discharge into the central Bonny estuary.
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