Seasonal variation in the coastal water phytoplankton communities and their environmental responses at upstream and downstream of the steep Naf River in the south-western Bay of Bengal

MD Jahangir Sarker, Mehedi Hasan Tanmoy, M Shahanul Islam, Khondokar Mohammad Shahriar Nazrul, Shaharior Hossen, Mir Mohammad Ali


As a multinational river, the Naf River flows into the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, between the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh and the Rakhine state of Burma. In a multidisciplinary approach, several experiments were carried out to understand the seasonal diversity of the phytoplankton community structure. A total of four layers of water was sampled from four depths in the Naf River during monsoon (September) and winter (December) of 2016. 41 species of phytoplankton were identified, and 3 different dominant groups (Cyanobacteria, Diatoms, and Dinoflagellates) were found. Diatoms and cyanobacteria alone were found to be most prevalent. Higher species diversity was observed in the monsoon season, with Synedra sp. (1.84×105 cells L-1, 18.76%) and winter with Microcystis sp. (1.41×105 cells L-1, 17.74%), respectively. In monsoon, NO3-N and PO4-P were both higher than winter (450.9 and 34.4 µg L-1, respectively) especially, at downstream Naf River. Moreover, high diversity indexes (richness) of phytoplankton were recorded along with these estuarine stations. Significant correlations (P<0.01) of nutrients with phytoplankton may liable behind these scenarios. An analysis of principal component analysis (PCA) and linear regression supported this correspondence. In the monsoon season, the concentration of Chlorophyll-α reached the highest level (165 µg L-1) at a depth of 1.5 m, in Station-D. Cluster analysis based on the nutrient content of the Naf River was found two (upstream and downstream) mentionable zones during the winter and monsoon seasons. The results of the present study indicate that estuarine downstream areas are more productive than upstream areas of the Naf River at the southwest coastal zone of the Bay of Bengal.


Phytoplankton, Diversity, Nutriment content, Chlorophyll-α.

Full Text:



Abonyi A., Acs E., Hidas A., Grigorszky I., Varbiro G., Borics G., Kiss K.T. (2018). Functional diversity of phytoplankton highlights long‐term gradual regime shift in the middle section of the Danube River due to global warming, human impacts and oligotrophication. Freshwater Biology, 63(5): 456-472.

Abu Hena M.K., Japar Sidik B., Aysha A., Ahasan H., Short F.T. (2013). Estuarine macrophytes at Bakkhali, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh with reference to mangrove diversity. Chiang Mai Journal of Science, 40(4): 556-563.

Affe H.M.D.J., Piedras F.R., Santana L.M., Moser G.A.O., Menezes M., Nunes J.M.D.C. (2019). Phytoplankton functional groups: Short‐term variation in a tropical tidal‐ forced estuarine system. Marine Ecology, 40: 1-11.

Asadujjaman M., Hossain M.B, Shamsuddin M., Amin M.A., Azam A.K.M. (2012). Occurrence and abundance of macrobenthos of Hatiya and Nijhum Dweep Islands, Bangladesh. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 11(2): 184-188.

Barsanti L., Gualtieri P. (2006). Algae: Anatomy, biochemistry and biotechnology. Boca Raton: Taylor and Francis Group. 362 p.

Baek S.H., Kim D., Son M., Yun S.M., Kim Y.O. (2015). Seasonal distribution of phytoplankton assemblages and nutrient-enriched bioassays as indicators of nutrient limitation of phytoplankton growth in Gwangyang Bay, Korea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 163: 265-278.

Baek S.H., Kim D., Kim Y.O., Son M., Kim Y.J., Lee M., Park B.S. (2019). Seasonal changes in abiotic environmental conditions in the Busan coastal region (South Korea) due to the Nakdong River in 2013 and effect of these changes on phytoplankton communities. Continental Shelf Research, 175: 116-126.

Berdalet E., Marrase C., Estrada M., Arin L., Maclean M. (1996). Microbial community responses to nitrogen and phosphorus deficient nutrient inputs: Microplankton dynamics and biochemical characterization. Journal of Plankton Research, 18(9): 1627-1641.

Bhaskar J.T., Parli B.V., Tripathy S.C. (2020). Spatial and seasonal variations of dinoflagellates and ciliates in the Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Marine Ecology, 1-12.

Bom F.C., Colling L.A. (2020). Impact of vehicles on benthic macrofauna on a subtropical sand beach. Marine Ecology, 1-9.

Camdevyren H., Demyr N., Kanik A., Keskyn S. (2005). Use of principle component scores in multiple linear regression models for prediction of Chlorophyll-α in reservoirs. Ecological Modelling, 181: 581- 589.

Carter C.M., Ross A.H., Schiel D.R., Howard-Williams C., Hayden B. (2005). In situ microcosm experiment on the influence of nitrate and light on phytoplankton community composition. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 326: 1-13.

Charalampous E., Matthiessen B., Sommer U. (2018). Light effects on phytoplankton morphometric traits influence nutrient utilization ability. Journal of Plankton Research, 40(5): 568-579.

Chan Y.F., Chung C.C., Gong G.C., Hsu C.W. (2020). Spatial variation of abundant picoeukaryotes in the subtropical Kuroshio Current in winter. Marine Ecology, 1-15.

Cloern J.E., Foster S.Q., Kleckner A.E. (2014). Phytoplankton primary production in the world’s estuarine-coastal ecosystems. Biogeosciences, 11: 2477-2501.

Dalelio D., Mazzocchi M. G., Montresor M., Sarno D., Zingone A., Di Capua I., Ribera dAlcala M. (2014). The green-blue swing: plasticity of plankton food-webs in response to coastal oceanographic dynamics. Marine Ecology, 36(4): 1155-1170.

Gherardi M., Amato A., Bouly J.‐P., Cheminant S., Ferrante M.I., d’Al‐cala M.R., … Lagomarsino M.C. (2016). Regulation of chain length in two diatoms as a growth‐fragmentation process. Physical Review E, 94(2-1): 022418.

Gleason H.A. (1922). On the relation between species and area (one of the first studies investigating the species-area relations). Ecology, 3: 158-162.

Hustedt F. (1985). The Pennate Diatoms: A Translation of Hustedt’s “Die Kieselalgen, 2. Teil” with Supplement by N. G. Jensen. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein, Germany. 918 p.

Hammer Ø., Harper D.A.T., Ryan P.D. (2001). PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica. 4(1): 9 p.

Hänninen J., Vuorinen I., Helminen H., Kirkkala T., Lehtilä K. (2000). Trends and gradients in nutrient concentration and loading in the Archipielago Sea northern Baltic. Eastuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 50: 153-171.

Harvey H.W. (1960). The chemistry and fertility of seawater. Cambridge University Press, London. 224 p.

Hobday A.J., Okey T.A., Pdoczanska E.S., Kunz T.J., Richardson A.J. (2006). Impacts of climatic change on Australian marine life: part-c—literature reviews. Report to the Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia. 165 p.

Hossain M.B., Das N.G., Sharmeen R. (2009). Seasonal and spatial distribution of macrozoobenthos of the Meghna River estuarine bed. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 5(3): 11.

Hossain M.R.A., Pramanik M.M.H., Hasan M.M. (2017). Diversity indices of plankton communities in the River Meghna of Bangladesh. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Culture, 5(3): 330-334.

IBM Corp. (2011). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Jewel M.A.S., Haque M.M., Haq M.S., Khan S. (2002). Seasonal dynamics of phytoplankton in relation to environmental factors in the Maheshkhali channel, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Bangladeshi Fisheries Research, 6: 173-181.

Kim J.G., Gwak J.H., Jung M.Y., An S.U., Hyun J.H., Kang S., Rhee S.K. (2019). Distinct temporal dynamics of planktonic archaeal and bacterial assemblages in the bays of the Yellow Sea. PLoS ONE, 14(8): 1-17.

Kim J.H., Kim M., Lim Y.K., Kim Y.J., Baek S.H. (2019). Occurrence characteristics of harmful and non-harmful algal species related to coastal environments in the southern sea of Korea. Marine and Freshwater Research, 70: 794-806.

Klais R., Norros V., Lehtinen S., Tammienen T., Olli K. (2017). Community assembly and drivers of phytoplankton functional structure. Functional Ecology, 31: 760-767.

Maranon E. (2015). Cell size as a key determinant of phytoplankton metabolism and community structure. Annual Review of Marine Science, 7: 241-264.

Lee M., Park B.S., Baek S.H. (2018). Tidal influences on biotic and abiotic factors in the Seomjin River Estuary and Gwangyang Bay, Korea. Estuaries and Coasts, 41: 1977-1993.

Liu L., Wang Z., Lu S. (2020). Diversity and geographical distribution of resting stages of eukarytic algae in the surface sediments from the southern Chinese coastline based on metabarcoding partial 18S rDNA sequences. Marine Ecology, 1-17.

Marshall H.G. (2009). Phytoplankton of the York River. Journal of Coastal Research, 57: 59-65.

Millman M., Cherrier C., Ramstack J. (2005). The seasonal succession of the phytoplankton community in Ada Hayden Lake, North Basin, Ames, Iowa. Limnology Laboratory, Iowa State University, Ames, IA., USA.

Moser G.A.O., Piedras F.R., Oaquim A.B.J., Souza D.S., Leles S.G., de Lima D.T., Ramos, A.B.A., Farias, C.O., Fernandes A.M. (2017). Tidal effects on phytoplankton assemblages in a near‐pristine estuary: A trait‐based approach for the case of a shallow tropical ecosystem in Brazil. Marine Ecology, 38(4): 1-18.

Nakajima R., Yoshida T., Othman B.H.R., Toda T. (2013). Biomass and estimated production rates of metazoan zooplankton community in a tropical coral reef of Malaysia. Marine Ecology, 35(1): 112-131.

Noman M.A., Rashid M., Islam M.S., Hossain M. (2019). Spatial and seasonal distribution of Intertidal Macrobenthos with their biomass and functional feeding guilds in the Naf River estuary, Bangladesh. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 37: 1010-1023.

Park B.S., Lee M., Shin K., Baek S.H. (2020). Response of the bacterioplankton composition to inorganic nutrient loading and phytoplankton in southern Korean coastal waters: A mesocosm study. Marine Ecology, 1-14.

Palmer C.M., Square K., Lewis R.L. (1977). Algae and Water Pollution. Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory Publisher, Washington DC, USA. 133 p.

Parsons T.R., Maita Y., Lalli C.M. (1984). A Manual of Chemical and Biological Methods for Seawater Analysis. Pergamon Press plc, Oxford. 173 p.

Pielou E.C. (1967). The use of information theory in the study of the diversity of biological pollutions. In: Proceedings of 5th Berkeley symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability, 4: 163-177.

Pitchaikani S.J., Lipton A.P. (2017). A Principal Component Analysis (PCA) Approach to Seasonal and Zooplankton Diversity Relationships in Fishing Grounds of Mannar Gulf, India. Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 9(2): 153-160.

Plongon B., Salaenoi J., Kaewsuralikhit C., Jitchum P., Yoshikawa T., Watanabe K., Okamoto Y., Ishikawa S. (2016). Phytoplankton distribution and water qualities in coastal aquaculture area at Bandon Bay, Surat Thani Province. Thammasat Journal of Science and Technology, 24(4): 587-598.

Pongswat S., Thammathaworn S., Peerapornpisal Y., Thanee N., Somsiri C. (2004). Diversity of phytoplankton in the Rama IX Lake, A Man-Made Lake, Pathumthani Province, Thailand. ScienceAsia, 30: 261-267.

Prescott G. (1962). Algae of the Western Great Lakes area. W.M.C. Brown Co. Publishers. Iowa. 977 p.

Rajasegar M. (2003). Physico-chemical characteristics of the Vellar estuary in relation to shrimp farming. Journal of Environmental Biology, 24: 95-101.

Reynolds C.S. (2006). Ecology of Phytoplankton. Cambrdige University Press, UK. 551 p.

Sahu K.C., Baliarsingh S.K., Srichandan S., Lotliker A.A., Kumar T.S. (2013). Monograph on marine plankton of East Coast of India-A cruise report. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad. 146 p.

Sai Elangovan S., Gauns M., Begum Mulla A., Ahmed A. (2019). Spatial variability of microzooplankton in the central Arabian Sea during spring intermonsoon. Marine Ecology, 1-7.

Sarker S., Md., Basak S.C., Islam M.M. (2018). Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 212: 146-152.

Santana R.M.C., Dolbethb M., Barbosa J.E.L., Patrício J. (2017). Narrowing the gap: Phytoplankton functional diversity in two disturbed tropical estuaries. Ecological Indicators, 86: 81-93.

Shanks A.L., Sheesley P., Johnson L. (2017). Phytoplankton subsidies to the inter-tidal zone are strongly affected by surf-zone hydrodynamics. Marine Ecology, 38(3): 1-10.

Shannon C.E., Weaver W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communications. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. 125 p.

Shubert L.E. (1984) Algae as Ecological Indicators. Academic Press, New York, USA. 434 p.

Sommer U., Gliwicz Z.M., Lampert W., Duncan A. (1986). The PEG-model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in freshwaters. Arch Hydrobiology, 106: 433-471.

Spilling K., Ylostalo P., Simis S., Seppala J. (2015). Interaction effects of light, temperature and nutrient limitations (N, P and Si) on growth, stoichiometry and photosynthetic parameters of the cold-water diatom Chaetoceros wighamii. PLoS ONE, 10: e0126308.

Stirling H.P. (1985). Chemical and biological methods of water analysis for aquaculturists. Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland. 119 p.

Strickland J.D.H., Parsons T.R. (1972). A practical handbook of seawater analyses. Journal of Fisheries Research Board of Canada Bulletin, 167: 310.

Washington H.G. (1984). Diversity, biotic and similarity indices: A review with special relevance to aquatic ecosystems. Water Research, 18: 653-694.

Yamazi I. (1979). Illustrations of the marine plankton of Japan. Hoikusha Publishing Co. Ltd., Osaka, Japan. 537 p. (In Japanese)

Yoshikawa T., Tomizawa K., Okamoto Y., Watanabe K., Salaenoi J., Hayashizaki K., Kurokura H., Ishikawa S. (2017). Nutrients, light and phytoplankton production in the shallow, tropical coastal waters of Bandon Bay, Southern Thailand. Marine Ecology, 38(6): 1-12.



  • There are currently no refbacks.