Seasonal variations influencing the abundance and diversity of plankton in the Swarnamukhi River Estuary, Nellore, India

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Krupa Ratnam
V.P. Limna Mol
S. Venkatnarayanan
Dilip Kumar Jha
G. Dharani
M. Prashanthi Devi


An integrated approach was used to study the seasonal influence on the abundance and diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton in the Swarnamukhi River Estuary (SRE) and the adjacent coast covering five stations by collecting monthly samples from the years 2014 to 2017. A total of 54 phytoplankton species conforming to four families and 58 zooplankton species conforming to nine families were recorded. Phytoplankton abundance and richness were high during pre-monsoon (PRM - 56410 cells/L) followed by monsoon (MON – 42210 cells/L). A similar trend was observed in the case of zooplankton, where abundance was recorded high during PRM (124261 ind./m3) followed by MON (111579 ind./m3). Moreover, phytoplankton and zooplankton were dominated by the diatoms and copepods, respectively. Both phytoplankton and zooplankton exhibited significant temporal (F= 26.4, p <0.05) and spatial (F= 32.1, p <0.05) variations. The higher density and abundance were recorded in the inner stations compared to the open sea. The present study reveals that the SRE have a rich diversity which could be attributed to a higher nutrient influx in the inner stations. The anthropogenic discharge from the surrounding aqua farms, agricultural land, and human settlement area could cause concerns for the local flora and fauna if a proper mitigation plan is not evolved through long-term monitoring study in this coastal region. 

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Ratnam, K., V.P. Limna Mol, S. Venkatnarayanan, Dilip Kumar Jha, G. Dharani and M. Prashanthi Devi 2022. Seasonal variations influencing the abundance and diversity of plankton in the Swarnamukhi River Estuary, Nellore, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 14, 2 (Feb. 2022), 20615–20624. DOI:

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