Influence of river discharge on zooplankton diet in the Godavari estuary (Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean)

Submitted: 29 December 2017
Accepted: 18 May 2018
Published: 10 July 2018
Abstract Views: 1543
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In estuaries, detrital (i.e., non-living) organic matter (OM) contributes significantly to the particulate organic matter (POM) pool and we hypothesize that it may be a major source of estuarine zooplankton diet. To test this hypothesis, the isotopic composition of carbon (d13C) and nitrogen (d15N) of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and POM was assessed in the Godavari estuary (Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean) during wet (November) and dry periods (January). As a result of higher riverine discharge, POM concentrations and values of the C/Chl-a ratio during the wet period were higher than those measured during the dry one. Relatively lower δ13CPOM values were observed during wet than dry period and contrasting to that was found for δ15NPOM. Detritus from fresh water algae and C3 plants contributed significantly to the POM pool during the wet and dry period, respectively. Based on isotopic mixing model, detrital OM and phytoplankton mostly characterized the POM pools during the wet and dry periods, respectively. Accordingly, our results suggest also that the zooplankton diet was mostly supported by detrital OM during the wet period and by both phytoplankton and detrital OM during the dry one. The zooplankton trophic level (TL, 2.7) during the wet period was relatively higher than that (1.9) during the dry one, suggesting a relative higher preference for detritus than phytoplankton during the wet period. The results of this study allowed us confirming that detrital OM can significantly support zooplankton production in the Godavari estuary.

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Supporting Agencies

CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography

How to Cite

Mukherjee, J., Naidu, S. A., Sarma, V., & Ghosh, T. (2018). Influence of river discharge on zooplankton diet in the Godavari estuary (Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean). Advances in Oceanography and Limnology, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.4081/aiol.2018.7266