Water is the basis of existence of all life
forms in our biosphere. Of all the planet’s renewable
resources, water has a unique place. It is essential
for sustaining all forms of life, food production,
economic development and for general well being.
Accelerated urbanization and industrialization has
made water bodies susceptible to various threats.
Aquatic ecosystem is exposed to local disturbances,
Suryanaraynan (1991). According to Laal et al.
(1986) and Nath (2001), thorough knowledge of
physico-chemical conditions prevailing in a water
body is important for the assessment of water
quality and extent of pollution. Prevailing
physicochemical characteristics of water regulates
the population dynamic and distribution of the
inhabiting zooplanktons. A knowledge of both the
organism and its environment is, therefore, very
essential and pre-requisite for understanding the
various life history parameters of aquatic organisms,
Effect of some abiotic factors on zooplankton productivity
in a subtropical pond in Jammu, India
SEEMA LANGER*, NUSRAT JAN and YAHYA BAKHTIYAR
Department of Zoology, University of Jammu, Jammu - 180 006 (India)
(Received: April 07, 2007; Accepted: May 30, 2007)
Study of a water body at Jammu was carried out for a period of one year from January 2004 to
December 2004 to observe various water quality parameters and zooplankton dynamics. Temperature,
Dissolved oxygen, Free Co2, Carbonates, Bicarbonates, Calcium, Magnesium and Chlorides were
estimated on monthly basis. A total of 12 zooplankton species were identified comprising of three
major planktonic groups viz. cladocera, rotifera, and copepoda. Moina among cladocera and Brachionus
among rotifera were present at high as well as low DO level, therefore revealing their wide tolerance for
oxygen variation. Dominance of Copepods during period of high pollution characterized by high
temperature, high Free CO2 and low level of Ca++ and Mg++ reveals their importance as pollution
indicators. Zooplankton population was mainly contributed by cladocerans (46.39%) followed by rotifers
(44.12%) and copepods (9.48%).
Keywords: Subtropical pond, zooplankton, abiotic factors, water quality.
Zooplanktons serve as an important link
in the food chain of an aquatic environment. They
constitute a major portion of diet of fishes and play
a very important role in nutrition particularly when
developing young fish switches from endogenous
to exogenous mode of feeding. Live feeds are
additionally superior to compounded ones, because
they are readily ingested and digested rapidly do
not affect water quality, besides, having essential
inherent growth promoting factors, Kinne (1977) and
Watanabe et al., (1983).
Apart from serving as important fish food
organism, zooplanktons are considered as
indicators of water quality. The distribution and
abundance of these organisms in polluted and
unpolluted water can provide useful information on
the health of the water body, Gajbhiye et al., (1981).
It was with this background that present
work was undertaken to analyze the physico-
chemical parameters, seasonal abundance of
Current World Enviroment Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007)
zooplankton and the relationship between the
former and latter.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The study area, Janipur pond lies 10kms
west of Jammu (old) city. The pond is spring fed,
covers 0.023 Sq. kilometer surface area and has
mean depth of 1 meter samples were collected from
three study stations raised along the periphery.
Station-I (S-I) located along the margin of the road
and is void of vegetation. Station-II (S-II) is
characterized by dense vegetation and is mainly
used by cattles for drinking and bathing. Station-III
(S-III) receives water from catchment area.
Temperature was recorded with the help
of a thermometermeter graduated up to 100oC. pH
of the water was determined by a field pH meter
(Hanna instruments Italy). Dissolved oxygen, Free
carbon dioxide, Carbonates, Bicarbonates, Calcium,
Magnesium and Chlorides were estimated by
applying method suggested by Indian standard
methods (1973) and APHA (1985). Analysis of
zooplankton was carried following Edmondson,
(1959) and Needham and Needham (1962).
RESULT S AND DISCUSSION
Monthly variations in various physico-
chemical factors are shown in Table-I. Air
temperature ranged from minima of 18oC in the
month of January to maxima of 39oC in May. Water
temperature showed a corresponding variation and
fluctuated from a minimum of 17oC in January to a
maximum of 34oC in August. The water temperature
closely followed air temperature as earlier advocated
by Qadri and Yousuf (1980), Raina et al. (1982),
Singh and Singh (1995), Panday and Lal (1995),
Sharma (2001), Shafiq (2004), Sawhney (2004) and
Shvetambri (2007). The rise in temperature (Air and
Water) is primarily due to increased day length
(Summer 14 hours and winter 10 hours) and sharp
angle of incidence during summers. pH of the water
remained mostly alkaline except for the months of
June (6.8) and September (6.1). pH was low, when
Free CO2 and HCO3 in the water-body were quite
high (Table-I) and therefore were major contributing
factors towards acidic nature of water during the
period of study. Similar observations were made by
28 Langer et al., Current World Envir. Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007)
Lal et al. (1986) and Charkraborty et al. (1995). A
fall in pH was observed in monsoon and was
attributed to CO32- and increased Free CO2.This has
been supported by Qadri and Yousuf (1980) who
maintained that the rain water and associated
decaying organic matter inundating into the
waterbody are responsible for such a change in pH.
Dissolved oxygen of the pond fluctuated from a
minima of 3.6 mg/l (August 2004) to a maxima of
15.2 mg/l (November 2004). The rise and fall in
temperature was responsible for an increase and
decrease in the DO content respectively and also
affected the photosynthetic activities of Chlorophyll
bearing organisms. The results presented in this
study are in accordance with result of earlier
workers, Sarwar and Parveen (1995), Joshi and
Singh (1997) and Masud et al., (2002). Low DO
during post monsoon period was probably due to
the turbidity and waste material entering into water
body along with rainwater. Higher value of DO during
winter and low during post monsoon is a well-known
characteristics feature of stable aquatic ecosystem
as has already been observed by many workers ,
Lal et al., (1986). Monthly variation in Free CO2 is
shown in Table-I. Higher values of Free CO2 during
post monsoon months corroborate with the finding
of Laal et al. (1986). An increase in Free CO2 during
post monsoon months is broadly attributed to added
load of decayed organic matter brought by rainwater.
Absence of Free CO2 during November and
December at all the three stations may be being of
its uptake by phytoplankton and submerged rooted
vegetation. Monthly variation in Carbonate (CO32-)
and Bicarbonate (HCO3-) are shown in Table -I.
Absence of carbonate (CO32-) during most of the
months may explain the presence of Free carbon
dioxide. An inverse relationship between carbonates
and Free CO2 has been advocated by Goldman and
Horne (1983), Singh (1995) and Sharma (1999).
The value of bicarbonate increased during
summer months and decreased during winter. The
rainfall plays a significant role in increasing the
concentration of bicarbonate.
Calcium (Ca++) and Magnesium (Mg++) also
showed well-marked seasonal variation throughout
the investigated period. Higher values of Ca++ at
station-II might be due to the allochthonous material
especially the excretory wastes of cattles, which
Table - 1: Monthly variations in Physico-Chemical Parameters of a Pond of Jammu
Months Air Temperature(oC) Water Temperature (oC) PH Dissolved Oxygen(mg/l) Free Carbondioxide(mg/l)
SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII
January 04 24 18 22 20 17 19 7.7 7.7 7.8 8.8 8.8 9.2 2 4 2
February 28 28 28 25 24 25 7.1 7 7.1 5.2 5.6 5.1 2 4 2
March 28 28 28 26 24 24 7.1 7.0 7.1 4.0 4.8 4.1 3 3 4
April 31 31 31 28 27 28 7.0 6.3 6.8 9.2 8.8 10 4 6 4
May 39 38 39 33 31 34 7.1 7.2 7.2 6.8 6.0 6.4 4 5 5
June 33 33 33 30 30 29 6.8 6.7 6.8 9.2 8.8 8.4 12 12 12
July 31 31 31 29 29 29 7.8 7.5 7.8 6.0 5.6 5.6 7.1 7.2 7.1
August 37 32 34 34 28 30 7.2 7.3 7.2 3.6 3.5 3.6 6.2 6.8 6.3
September 30 29 30 27 27 28 6.1 6.2 6.1 4.8 5.2 4.8 18 18 18
October 28 22 26 23 20 24 7.9 7.5 7.5 8.8 9.2 11.2 7.2 7.3 7.1
November 29 23 28 25 19 25 8.8 8.7 8.7 14.0 15.2 12.8 - - -
December 28 21 24 25 19 21 7.9 7.9 7.9 8.8 6.0 8.0 - - -
Mean 30.5 27.9 29.3 27.0 24.5 26.3 7.3 7.2 7.3 7.43 7.36 7.38 6.55 7.33 6.75
S.D. 3.98 5.70 4.40 3.83 4.6 3.9 0.65 0.66 0.63 2.82 2.92 2.88 4.78 4.29 4.66
Langer et al., Current World Envir. Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007) 29
account for increased values of Ca++. It was
observed that the Ca++ levels increased at low
temperature mainly due to reduced metabolic rate
and reduced evaporation. These observations get
support from the finding of Nath (2001) and Kour
(2002). Higher values of Mg++ at S-II were due to
the influx of pollutants from catchment area and
faecal matter of cattles visiting the pond. Table-II
shows the seasonal variation in chloride content of
Janipur pond. The higher level of chloride was
recorded during summer and monsoon period (June
to October). This higher level was probably due to
rainfall leading to direct entry of allochthonous
material carrying appreciable amount of faecal and
other organic decaying matter from embankments
into the pond. Similar trend of increase in chloride
level has been reported by Sinha et al. (1992), Singh
(1995) and Gurumayum et al. (2002).
It was observed that zooplankton undergo
both qualitative and quantitative seasonal dynamics
concomitant with abiotic and biotic changes (Table-
III). The zooplankton acquired maxima in the month
of January-March when temperature was recorded
to be low (24oC) and pH slightly alkaline or neutral
(7-7.7). Subsequently a minima in zooplankton
population was recorded in the month of May and
August onwards (August-September) which was
due to high temperature (Atmospheric temperature,
39oC) and turbidity of water. Maximum density of
plankton was probably due to cumulative effect of
high transparency low temperature and high
dissolved oxygen. A similar pattern in zooplankton
variation i.e., a minima in summer and maxima in
winter has been recorded by a number of workers,
Tamot and Bhatnagar (1989); Joshi et al., (1996);
Singh (2004) and Sawhney (2004). It has been well
recorded that pH of water has an important bearing
on plankton production and during the present
study, it was observed that pH ranging from 7 to
8.8 was favorable for the growth of plankton. Free
CO2 was recorded to show inverse relationship with
plankton production, as during the month of
September, due to high value of free CO2
zooplankton were completely absent-. DO was
recorded to be directly proportional to zooplankton
production, since the maximum of cladocera (2982/
l) was recorded when concentration of DO was
highest (9.2 mg/l) during month of January.
Seasonal fluctuation in the zooplankton
population was due to dominance of one or more
than one constituent zooplankton as a result of their
growth in number. The major groups constituting
the zooplankton population were rotifers,
cladocerans and copepods. The winter season was
dominated by a population boom of cladocerans
especially Daphnia while copepods dominated the
During the course of present study seven
species of rotifers were recorded (Table- III). A peak
in rotifer population was recorded during month of
March (2583/l), whereas minima was recorded
during the month of August (3/l). Rotifer fauna was
found to be completely absent in the months of May
and September, possibly be due to temperature
rising beyond acceptable range (28oC)--. Rotifer
fauna was dominated by Brachionus sps. and was
found to be available at a wide range of temperature
(19-30oC) thus exhibiting eurythermal character. On
the contrary, the other rotifer species such as Filinia,
Polyarthra, Testudinella, Asplanchna, Hexarthra,
Keratella were found during a relatively narrower
thermal range (17-24oC) thus exhibiting
stenothermal behaviour. Similar results have been
reported by Malhotra et al. (1995).
Dissolved Oxygen in water body has been
considered to be an important ecological factor for
survival of rotifers, Sharma & Srivastava (1986).
During the present investigation DO was recorded
to be highest in November when the rotifer sps. such
as Filinia (376/l), Brachionus (33/l), Polyarthra (172/
l), Testudinella (17/l) and Hexarthra (5/l) recorded
their presence, however, out of these only
Brachionus sps. exhibited its presence in August
when DO level was recorded to be lowest (3.6 mg/
l) in the pond. A qualitative peak of rotifer fauna
observed during the month of November. This could
be attributed to the combined effect of favourable
temperature, increased Ca++, Mg++ & optimum pH
of water. A single quantitative peak was observed
during the month of March, when Brachionus sps.
(1744/l) and Asplanchna sps. (802/l) dominated.
Maximum number of cladocerans were recorded
during the month of January (2993/l) whereas
minimum number during the month of August (15/
l). No Cladoceran were however found in samples
taken in month of March to June and September to
Langer et al., Current World Envir. Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007)30
Table -2 : Monthly variations in Physico-Chemical Parameters of a Pond of Jammu
Parameters Carbonate(CO32-) Bicarbonates(HCO3) Calcium (Ca++) Magnesium(Mg++) Chloride(Cl-)
(mg/l) (mg/l) (mg/l) (mg/l) (mg/l)
Months SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII SI SII SIII
Jan - - - 506.3 524.6 506.3 28.860 43.30 39.29 33.53 28.67 32.07 44.90 45.91 44.90
Feb - - - 402.6 359.9 396.5 41.70 47.31 43.30 21.87 20.41 20.41 45.90 41.91 43.91
Mar - - - 396.5 353.8 390.4 40.1 53.73 40.1 21.87 17.98 21.87 43.91 41.91 47.90
Apr - - - 372.1 433.1 469.7 17.64 18.44 17.64 20.89 18.46 34.02 67.86 61.87 69.86
May - - - 707.6 658.8 683.2 16.84 18.44 16.84 23.32 21.87 21.87 75.84 69.86 73.85
Jun - - - 750.3 744.2 744.2 10.42 13.63 12.03 17.98 12.15 16.52 103.79 141.71 105.78
Jul - - - 738.1 713.7 725.9 19.24 16.84 18.44 10.69 13.12 11.17 99.8 97.80 101.79
Aug - - - 786.9 744.2 762.5 34.48 32.88 33.68 15.06 14.58 14.58 87.82 83.83 85.82
Sept - - - 799.1 805.2 829.6 34.48 32.88 33.68 15.06 14.58 14.58 91.81 93.81 83.83
Oct - - - 699.9 663.8 667.5 41.70 45.71 40.90 22.84 20.89 29.16 87.82 93.81 121.75
Nov 144.0 186.0 156.0 401.2 422.4 409.9 42.50 45.71 52.13 20.41 32.56 27.70 87.82 113.79 109.78
Dec 87.0 156.0 186.0 502.5 507.7 504.9 30.47 27.66 38.49 36.93 47.38 37.90 75.84 79.84 79.84
Mean 115.5 171.0 171.0 586.09 577.6 590.8 29.53 33.04 32.21 21.70 21.88 23.48 76.09 80.50 80.75
S.D. 28.5 15.0 15.0 163.4 155.4 153.4 10.88 13.39 12.23 7.07 9.65 8.24 20.36 29.08 25.02
Langer et al., Current World Envir. Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007) 31
October. This complete absence of cladocerans may
be attributed to high temperature. Among
Cladocerans, Daphnia dominated (2982/l).
Cladocerans were mostly present during the
moderate temperature range (17-20oC) as
documented by Saint-Jean (1983) who reported that
cooler periods favour the cladoceran dominance.
Rotifer production exhibited an inverse correlation
with DO and free CO2. During the present
investigation DO was recorded to be highest 15.2
mg/lt in November when Moina showed its
presence. This species was also present in the
month of August (15/l) at lowest DO level, revealing
its wide tolerance for oxygen variation. Other
cladocerans were more or less absent during the
months of low DO level. Maximum qualitative
abundance of cladocerans was recorded during the
month of December, January and February which
was probably due to the combined effect of
favourable temperature, high Ca++, Mg++ and
optimum pH of water. From above discussion it
appear that zooplankton population showed two
peaks, 1st during January and February which was
exclusively due to Daphnia species. During this
period temperature was low (17 oC and 19oC) and
DO was high (8.8 and 9.2 mg/l). February onwards,
water temperature observed a gradual increase (19
oC-34oC) and this resulted in sudden disappearance
of Daphnia and zooplankton fauna was exclusively
dominated by rotifers. After March till July,
zooplankton fauna was characterized by high free
CO2, low level of Ca++ and Mg++, high temperature
condition (upto 34oC in May at S-III). Prevalence of
copepods as a dominant group during the presently
studied period strongly indicates copepods to be
better tolerant of temperature as compared to
rotifers and cladocerans.
The authors are thankful to the Head,
Deptt. Of Zoology for providing necessary laboratory
Table - 3 : Monthly variations in Zooplankton abundance of a pond of Jammu
MonthsGenera Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Brachionus - 3 1744 - - 10 14 3 - 337 33 130
Total 10 115 2583 114 - 10 14 3 - 353 606 353
Daphnia 2982 1191 - - - - 14 - ---17
Total 2993 1206 - - - - 48 15 - - 32 81
Mesocyclops - 18 50 120 130 235 298 30 - 5 - -
Grand Total 3003 1339 2633 234 130 245 360 48 - 358 638 434
32 Langer et al., Current World Envir. Vol. 2(1), 27-34 (2007)
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