CATRINA (2020), 21(1): 23-36
© 2020 BY THE EGYPTIAN SOCIETY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
* Corresponding author e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monitoring for the Distribution of Phytoplankton along the Hypersaline Bardawil Lagoon, in
Northern Sinai, Egypt
Aquatic Environment Department, Faculty of Fish Resources, Suez University,Egypt.
Bardawil Lagoon is a source of wildlife and high-quality fish, so, it is imperative that it should be subject to
continuous monitoring of both water quality and the phytoplankton composition. Samples were collected
from ten sites representing different habitats of the lagoon, from summer 2017 to spring 2018. The water
properties were determined; noticeable low concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients were recorded. A
total of 106 species belonging to six groups were recorded, among them Bacillariophyta (69 species) and
Dinophyta (26 species). The obtained results clarify that Bacillariophytes prevailed in the eastern sites of
Bardawil; on the contrary, Dinophytes occupied the sovereignty in the western sites of the lagoon. The most
abundant Bacillariophytes were Licmophora gracilis, Gyrosigma acuminatum, Fragilaria construens, and
Nitzschia sigmoidea; which formed more than 50% of total abounded diatoms. While, Protoperidinium
leonis, Prorocentrum gracile and Protoperidinium granii were the dominant Dinophytes, giving it maximum
at El-Rewak. From reviewing previous studies on the lagoon, it becomes clear that the phytoplankton
composition varied widely from previously recorded, including the dominant species and their rates of
sovereignty, which reflected economically on its fish productivity. Besides, the water quality in Bardawil
fluctuated from slightly-polluted to moderately-polluted according to the diversity index, as a result of the
recent, noticeable increase in human activities, especially fishing, which will be in turn reflected in the
environment. Therefore, continuous follow-up through ecological assessment and monitoring studies of
Bardawil became an urgent necessity.
Keywords: Bardawil lagoon, phytoplankton distribution, water quality.
Bardawil Lagoon is a large shallow hyper-saline
coastal lagoon, existed in the middle Mediterranean
coast of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. This lagoon
constituted about 22% of the total northern lagoons’
area, where it has an area of about 685 km2 (Khalil and
Shaltout, 2006). Seawater enters the lagoon through
two artificial tidal inlets (Boughaz I and II) opened
periodically by dredging. During Israeli occupation to
Sinai in 1967, both inlets were closed by 1970. Thus,
the salinity of the lagoon had undergone a drastic
increase that reached up to 120 ‰ (Pisanty, 1980). The
inlets were reopened from 1972 until 1978, and then
salinity decreased to 38.5 ‰ at the Boughaze area and
it was 74.5 ‰ at the most western part of the lagoon.
Bardawil Lagoon reported as oligotrophic to
mesotrophic ecosystem (Touliabah et al., 2002).
Where, it is the least polluted lagoon because it did not
receive any drainage canals. Therefore, it is an
important source of good quality, local and economic
fishes in North Sinai, and it plays an essential role in
the fish production in Egypt and most of its catch is
exported. Bardawil Lagoon produces over 2,500 tons
annually; where it characterized by very economically
important species of fishes such as sea bass, sea bream,
sole, grey mullet, eel, meager and white grouper
(GAFRD, 2012). Taking into consideration, fishing is
stopped from January to May, in order to allow fish
stocks to recuperate. Moreover, it is an Important Bird
Area by BirdLife International, where, it is an essential
stop and staging site for massive numbers of migrants
passing through Zaranik protected area especially in
autumn months, besides its important for wintering
water-birds e.g. Phalacrocorax carbo and Phoenicopt-
erus rubber (Khalil and Shaltout, 2006). Ali et al.,
(2006) reported that, two species of the most common
migrants birds namely; Sterna albifrons and Charadrius
alexandrinus, breed in the immediate vicinity of the
lagoon with internationally important numbers.
Algae are an essential partner in the aquatic
ecosystem (Mofeed, 2015a). Phytoplankton composes
the base of the food chain in the aquatic environment
where it forms the main primary producers (Shaaban-
Dessouki et al., 2004; Mofeed and Mosleh, 2013).
Phytoplankton biomass in Bardawil Lagoon is
generally low but during summer and autumn, it
increases due to dinoflagellates and diatoms
dominancy. Both blue-green and green algae are
comparatively insignificant in the phytoplankton
composition. This coastal lagoon is currently oligo-
trophic to mesotrophic ecosystem (Touliabah et al.,
2002). During recent years, the lagoon suffered from
many problems, due to the expansion of human
activities and tourism around the lagoon and due to
lack of systematic follow-up to the continuous
dredging of the two artificial inlets (Boughaz I and II).
In addition to the increase in many unauthorized
human activities around the lagoon. These problems
might cause an increase in salinity and pollutant
concentration, and then lead to environmental
degradation, which significantly disturbed the
phytoplankton composition (the main producer of the
food chain) and consequently, it constitutes a threat to
the ecosystem as a whole in this virgin lagoon, which
contains one of the most important natural reserves in
the world which considered a shelter to many of the
migratory organisms, among them are threatened
species (El-Sheekh et al., 2019). Also, this will be
reflected in the productivity of the lake, which is of
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
great importance in the national economy, as the lake
produces large quantities of fish of high quality and
desirable for export. Where the expensive species is
77.05% of its total fish production, but due to the
illegal human activities, the total loss of biomass was
4723 tons only one fishing season (El-Aiatt et al.,
Therefore, Bardawil Lagoon still in need of
sustainable monitoring studies to provide a database for
water quality status and to maintain the purity and
health of this lagoon and put a proper management
strategy. The main objectives of the present study are
to evaluate the water quality characteristics and to
determine the phytoplankton community composition
and its distributional pattern with the different
ecological variables in Bardawil lagoon. This data can
be used as a database that will be benefiting the
subsequent monitoring studies.
MATERIALS AND METHOD
In the North of Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and between
longitudes 320° 40′and 330° 30′\ E and latitudes 310° 03′
and 310° 14\′ N, a large Lagoon is known as Bardawil
Lagoon situated. The southern side of the lagoon
surrounded by desert and sand dunes, while the
northern border by the Mediterranean Sea. Based on
satellite image interpretations and GIS techniques, the
lagoon extends for about 80 km along on the northern
coast of Sinai between El-Qantara and El-Arish Cities.
Its maximum width is about 20.5 km and the lake is
very shallow, with a mean depth of around 1.5 m and a
maximum of 7.5 m. The maximum depth in Boughaz
(II) is 5.75 m due to dredging. The surface area is about
685 km2. The Lagoon has an elliptical shape, separated
from the Mediterranean Sea by a curving sand barrier
with a width between 300 and 2000 m. There are two
artificial inlets (Boughazes I and II) connect the
Lagoon to the sea (Negm et al., 2019) and two small
natural eastern inlets (Boughaz Zaranik and Abo Salah)
which are now occasionally closed by silting, that have
been established to decrease the salinity through the
exchange of water with the Mediterranean Sea. The
main water supply to the Lagoon comes from the
Mediterranean Sea, which flows constantly, mainly
through the first two openings (Khalil and Shaltout,
2006). The lagoon characterized by arid climate and
low precipitation rate (5 -10 mm.year-1) only during the
winter months, accompanied by high evaporation rates
without streams flow inside the lagoon (Zalat et al.,
As illustrated in the Bardawil Lagoon map (Figure
1), ten sites were selected for sampling, to cover the
whole area and represent all the habitats of the Lagoon
(Table 1). Surface water samples were collected
seasonally from summer 2017 to spring 2018using the
Ruttner Water Sampler bottle (capacity of 2L).
Table (1): Names of the selected sites in Bardawil Lagoon, with their latitudes and longitude.
Salinity, pH and dissolved oxygen were measured in
the field by using sing Hydrolab, Model (Multi-Set
430i WTW) according to APHA (1989). Water
samples were filtered using GF/C microfiber filter
paper to determine its chemical composition. Ammonia
concentrations were determined colorimetrically by
indophenol's method (Bremner and Shaw, 1955).
According to Kampshake et al., (1967), by hydrazine
reduction method, nitrates were estimated. Nitrites
were determined using the colorimetric coupled
method according to Barnes and Folkard (1951). While
ortho-phosphate and silicate were determined after
extraction in 0.5 M NaOH according to Hartikainen
(1979) and Krausse et al., (1983) respectively.
Moreover, heavy metals (Mn, Zn, Cu, and Pb) were
estimated according to Ajaykumar et al., (2008).
One litter of each water sample was fixed by using
Lugol solution before identification and enumeration
by using the microscope at 15 X eyepieces and 40X
and 100X objective, to identify the algal taxa to the
species level. The following references were used for
phytoplankton identification; Prescott (1962, 1969 and
1982), Hendey (1964), Patrick and Reimer (1966),
Foged (1978), Starmach (1968 and1983), Baker
(1991), Yamagishi (1992).
The diversity of phytoplankton community was
calculated according to Shannon and Weaver (1963).
One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) used to
define the significant variation in parameters
(Anonymous, 1993). MVSP program, multidim-
ensional analyses (Cluster analysis) classify similarity
between the data. In addition, the abundance index
performed using the MVSP program in order to
determine the most common species during the study
period (Legendre and Legendre, 1998). Pearson's
correlation coefficients were achieved out by the
statistical software SPSS (Version 14.0 for Windows).
Multivariate analysis of Detrended correspondence
analysis and (DCA) Canonical correspondence analysis
(CCA) used to clarify the variation in phytoplankton
assemblages structure and then related to
environmental factors by using CANOCO V. 4.0
program (Ter Braak, 1988).
Figure (1): Map shows the sampling sites along Bardawil Lagoon,
North Sinai, Egypt.
Inspection in Table (2) reflected the environmental
situation of Bardawil Lagoon, where the mean value of
the hydrogen ion concentration (pH) fluctuated in a
narrow range (from 8.55 to 8.25) during the
investigation period giving its maximum value at
Rabaa (site 1). In contrast, a significant wide range of
variation in salinity recorded where it gave its
maximum mean value (60.8 g.L-1) at Rabaa followed
by El-Telol, El-Nasser, and El-Rodh (55.2, 53.2 and
53.2 g.L-1 respectively). It is noticeable that, generally
the maximum salinity was recorded in the eastern and
western edges of the lake, while the minimum values
were obtained near both Boughaz I (from 37.9 to 41.3
g.L-1) and Boughaz II (from 37.5 to 41.4 g.L-1).
Concerning correlation (Table 3) of salinity with the
other chemical parameters, it gave remarkable high
positive correlations with all parameters except ortho-
phosphate (- 0.75) and dissolved oxygen (-0.59giving
its maximum value at Rabaa (site 1). In contrast, a
significant wide range of variation in salinity recorded
where the maximum mean value was 60.8 g.L-1. at
Rabaa, followed by El-Telol, El-Nasser, and El-Rodh
(55.2, 53.2 and 53.2 g.L-1 respectively). It is noticeable
that, the maximum salinity was recorded in the eastern
and western edges of the lake, while the minimum
values were recorded near both Boughaz I (from 37.9
to 41.3 g.L-1) and Boughaz II (from 37.5 to 41.4 g.L-1).
Concerning correlation (Table 3) of salinity with the
other chemical parameters, it gave remarkable high
positive correlations with all parameters except ortho-
phosphate (- 0.75) and dissolved oxygen (-0.59).
The mean value of the measured dissolved oxygen
(DO) was higher than 8 mg.L-1 at Boughaz II, Boughaz
I, and El- Zaranik. Meanwhile, lower values were
recorded in El-Rewak (4.2 - 6.5 mg.L-1), with a mean
value of 5.4 mg.L-1. Paradoxically, El-Rewak showed
the maximum biological oxygen demand (BOD) during
the study period (2.5 - 6.7 mg.L-1) with a mean value of
4.6 mg.L-1. Whereas, the minimum BOD values were
obtained at Masqut-Eplis (2.0 mg.L-1) followed by
Boughaz II (2.3 mg.L-1). In this context, DO was
negatively correlated with BOD (-0.84) and ammonia
(-0.79) at P≤ 0.005 (Table 3). In contrast, BOD
positively correlated with ammonia (0.86).
However, among the recorded values of the
inorganic nitrogen (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia), the
most prominent phenomena that the minimum values
were recorded at El-Gals (4.8, 36.3 and 31 µg.L-1 for
nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia respectively) followed by
Boughaz II (5.2 and 38.1 µg.L-1 for nitrite and nitrate
respectively). It is clear from the cited results that,
ortho-phosphate fluctuated between 48 µg. L-1 (at
Boughaz I) and 32 µg. L-1 (at El-Telol) within
Bardawil lagoon. However, silicate achieved its
maximum (133 µg.L-1) at El-Telol. A glance of
Pearson correlation coefficient table, clarify that, ortho-
phosphate showed a negative correlation with ammonia
(-0.78) and BOD (-0.61). Anent the estimated heavy
metals (Table 2) revealed that, the maximum
concentrations of cobber (25 µg.L-1), zinc (375 µg.L-1),
lead (51 µg.L-1) and manganese (72 µg.L-1) were
recorded in El-Telol, while El-Rodh and Rabaa come
in the second and third position with a significant gap.
Table. 4 clarify that, a total of 106 taxa of six algal
groups (68 Bacillariophyta; 26 Dinophyta; 5 Chlor-
ophyta; 4 Cyanophyta; 2 Euglenophyta and 1 Chry-
sophyta) were recorded within the studied sites along
Bardawil Lagoon (Figure 2). As shown in table 5, the
maximum total number of species was recorded at
Boughaz I (61 species), followed by Boughaz II (59
species), and El- Zaranik (49 species). While, only 33
species were recorded at Rabaa. Concerning the
number of species belonging to different algal groups
within each site along Bardawil lagoon (Table. 5), a
remarkable superiority of Bacillariophytes was obs-
erved, where it had the topmost number of species in
all sites during the study period (Average: 26.2). The
maximum number (41 species) of Bacillariophyta
species was recorded at Boughaz I “site.3”. In this
context, Boughaz I also achieved the maximum
number of species (17 species) belonging to Dinophyta
and consequently the maximum total number of species
(61 species). In general, Dinophyta occupies the second
position after Bacillariophyta as number of species
(Average: 13.3). Contrarily, Cyanophyta, Euglen-
ophyta, Chlorophyta and even Chrysophyta represented
by a limited number of species in all Bardawil Lagoon’
sites during the entire period of study.
Meanwhile, considering the abundance of each algal
group to the total abundance cover “as cell number”
within the studied sites (Figure 3) revealed that, again
Bacillariophyta dominated over the other groups
followed by Dinophyta. In this context the maximum
total cell number of Bacillariophyta (304 cell X104.L-1)
was recorded at El-Rewak site, followed by El-Telol
(276 cell X104.L-1) and Rabaa (264 cell X104.L-1),
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
7.9 – 8.8
8.2 – 8.7
8.1 – 8.3
8.0 – 8.4
8.2 – 8.7
8.2 – 8.6
8.1 – 8.5
8.0 - 8.5
8.0 – 8.7
7.6 – 8.5
45.5 – 60.3
37.9 – 41.3
40.2 – 54.7
43.5 – 53.0
43.0 – 51.5
37.5 – 41.4
42.2 – 55.4
45.3 – 63.2
45.3 – 64.5
5.0 – 7.1
5.3 – 7.5
6.4 – 8.8
4.2 – 6.5
5.6 – 7.8
5.2 – 8.8
6.8 – 9.9
5.9 – 8.6
5.3 – 7.1
5.5 – 6.8
3.0 – 7.1
1.9 – 4.8
1.6 – 4.0
2.5 – 6.7
1.7 – 4.4
1.3 – 4.5
1.5 – 3.8
1.6 – 4.6
2.6 – 4.8
2.0 – 5.9
0.0 – 10.0
2.2 – 15.0
0.0 – 17.0
0.0 – 14.8
0.0 – 14.9
0.0 – 12.4
0.0 – 15.5
0.0 – 11.9
0.0 – 15.3
5.5 – 20.2
10.8 – 68.2
13.6 – 59.8
20.3 – 64.5
16.2 – 74.3
17.6 – 51.8
17.9 – 68.4
16.2 – 58.3
21.1 – 74.6
14.4 – 72.3
16.7 – 79.2
3 2– 81
15 – 95
20 – 179
22 – 81
32 – 85
21 – 79
18 – 69
15 – 61
48 – 139
55 – 193
21 – 92
14 – 82
28 – 104
18 – 82
27 – 97
25 – 82
26 – 95
12 – 68
23 – 83
17 – 59
39 – 140
62 – 145
29 – 139
54 – 207
25 – 85
61 – 93
61 – 84
32 – 132
48 – 137
58 – 218
9 – 18
11 – 17
12 – 17
12 – 16
11 – 13
9 – 13
5 – 10
11 – 18
20 – 28
134 – 190
109 – 189
110 – 140
134 – 178
110 – 167
133 – 197
101 – 136
90 – 138
205 – 340
14 – 29
12 – 20
13 – 21
14 – 24
14 – 20
10 – 14
9 – 14
23 – 33
29 – 74
41 – 63
32 – 70
38 – 64
31 – 57
10 – 39
22 – 91
38 – 103
25 – 59
39 – 130
62 – 164
† range value, R; the mean value ± SE, M.
Table (2): The measured annual average of the physico-chemical parameters of water at the studied sites along Bardawil Lagoon.
while, the minimum cell number was recorded at
Masqut-Eplis, and El-Gals (150 and 161cell X104.L-1
respectively). A more or less the same trend obtained
by Dinophyta, which achieved its maximum cell num-
ber at El-Rewak (241 cell X104.L-1), followed by
Rabaa (229 cell X104.L-1) and El-Telol (143 cell
X104.L-1). The minimum cell number of Dinophyta
obtained within the middle area of the lagoon (Bou-
ghaz II, Masqut-Eplis, and El-Gals). It is worth ment-
ioning that, if we look to each group by its percentage
of abundance per the total number of cell at each site, a
different perception will be obtained, as we found that
the maximum percentage of Bacillariophyta (71.53%)
was recorded in Boughaz II, not in El-Rewak or Rabaa;
meanwhile, the lowest percentage obtained in El-Nas-
ser (47.7%), Rabaa (48.35%) and El-Rewak (49.43%).
Whereas, the lowest abundant percentage of Dino-
phytes (20.5%) was recorded within Boughaz II (Table
6). On the whole, it is obvious that, the percentage of
Bacillariophytes in eastern sites of the lake is signi-
ficantly higher than in the west of the lake. However,
the distribution of the Dinophyta were adverse of that,
represented as percentage. Cluster analysis for the
recorded algal groups reflects the relation between
Bacillariophyta and Dinophyta, where they grouped in
a minor sub-group with a high similarity factor (Fig.4).
However, Cyanophyta, Chlorophyta, and Euglenophyta
were separated in other sub-group. It is worth
mentioning that Chrysophyta located single in a group
with a dissimilarity factor of more than 90%.
Figure (2): The Number of algal species belonging to each algal
group recorded in Bardawil Lagoon.
Figure (3): Abundance for each algal group as cell number X104 L-1 in the studied sites along Bardawil Lagoon.
Table (3): Pearson correlation coefficient between different water parameters measured along Bardawil Lagoon.
*significant correlation at P≤ 0.05; **: highly significant correlation at P≤ 0.001.
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
Table (4): The rate of occurrence, at a particular time during the study period represented in Frequency, for each
species of the recorded algal groups recorded along Bardawil Lagoon.
Achnanthes brevipes Ag.
Licmophora gracilis (Grun.) Ag.
Achnanthes exigua Grun
Mastogloia angulata Lewis
Amphiprora alata (Kutz.)
Mastogloia braunii Grun.
Amphora coffaeiformis Ag.
Melosira granulata (Ehr.) Ralf.
Amphiprora paludosa W. Sm.
Melosira moniliformis Hust.
Amphora ostrearia Breb.
Navicula abrupta Greg.
Amphora ovalis (Kutz.)
Navicula cryptocephala (Kutz.)
Asterionella japonica Cl.
Navicula salinarum Grun.
Bacillaria paradoxa (Gmel.) Grun
Nitzschia hungarica Grun.
Bacteriastrum hyalinum Cleve.
Nitzschia amphibia Grun.
Bacteriastrum delicatulum Cleve.
Nitzschia closterium Smith
Biddulphia mobiliensis Bailey
Nitzschia longissima (Breb.) Ralf.
Campylodiscus hibernicus Ehren.
Nitzschia palea (Kz.) Smith
Campylostylus striatus Shadbolt
Nitzschia sigma Smith
Chaetoceros brevis (Schutt)
Nitzschia sigmoidea (Ehr.) Smith
Chaetoceros curvisetus Clev.
Nitzschia trybionella Hantzsch.
Chaetoceros didymus (Ehren.)
Pleurosigma distortum Smith
Chaetoceros affinis Laud
Rhizosolenia imbericata Cleve
Cocconeis bardawillensis Ehren.
Rhizosolenia setigera (Brigh.)
Cocconeis placentula Ehren.
Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cl.
Cocconeis scutellum Ehren
Stauroneis anceps Ehren.
Coscinodiscus lineatus (Ehren.)
Surirella clypus (Kutz.)
Cyclotella meneghiniana Kutz.
Surirella striatula (Kutz.)
Cyclotella planctonica Brun.
Synedra acus Kutz.
Cyclotella ocellata Pant.
Synedra tabulata Hust.
Cymbella parva (W. Sm.) Cleve
Synedra ulna (Nitz.) Ehren.
Diatoma anceps (Ehren.) Kirch.
Diploneis elliptica (Kutz.) Cleve
Thalassiosira excentrica (Ehren.)
Diploneis ovalis (Hilse.) Cleve
Thalassiosira pacifica (Grun.)
Hemiaulus hauckii (Grun.)
Thalassiothrix frauenfeldii Grun.
Leptocylindrus danicus (Celve.)
Alexandrium fundyense Jorgen.
Oxytoxum parvum (Stein)
Amphidinium spheoides Wulff.
Oxytoxum variabile Schiller
Ceratium egyptiacum Halim
Phalacroma argus Schiller
Ceratium furca Ehren.
Prorocentrum gracile Schütt
Ceratium tripos Nitzsch.
Prorocentrum lima (Ehrenberg)
Dinophysis caudata Saville-Kent
Protoperidinium achromaticum Entz.
Dinophysis tripos Gourret
Protoperidinium cerasus Paulsen.
Table 4: continued
Diplopsalis lenticula Bergh.
Protoperidinium claudicans Entz.
Exuviaella compressum Ostr.
Protoperidinium divergens (Ehren.)
Gonyaulax apiculata (Penard) Entz.
Protoperidinium granii Schroed
Gymnodinium splendens Labour
Protoperidinium leonis (Pav.) Balech
Gymnodinium gibberum Schilling.
Protoperidinium minutam (Ehren.)
Oxyphysis oxytoxoides Kafoid
Protoperidinium steinii Jorgensen
Scenedesmus bijuga Lebour
Dunaliella bardawillii Halim
Dunaliella salina Dunal.
Chroococcus turgidus (Kutzing)
Oscillatoria geminata (Meneg.)
Oscillatoria planctonica Wolosz
Spirulina subtilissima Kutz.
Euglena viridis Ehrenberg.
† Abbr, Abbreviation for representative species
According to the data pertaining to both chemical
and biological parameters, Detrended Correspondence
Analysis (DCA) was achieved to classify the sites
along Bardawil Lagoon (Figure 5). It is obvious that,
Rabaa, El-Nasser, El-Rewak, El-Rodh and El-Telol
were huddled together in one group "A", with high
similarity between El-Rodh, and El-Telol. While
Boughaz I, Boughaz II, and El- Zaranik were gathered
in another group "B". On the other hand, sites El-Gals
and Masqut-Eplis, were grouped in group "C" between
"A" and "B.
Concerning the abundance index results of all the
recorded species (Figures 6 and 7) at different locations
along Bardawil Lagoon reflected that, the most
dominant species during the investigation period were
belonging to Bacillariophyta and recorded 11 species
followed by Dinophyta (10 species). However, the
most abundant and frequent bacillariophytes species
recorded (Table 7) were Licmophora gracilis (14.81 %
of the total bacillariophytes), Gyrosigma acuminatum
(11.3%), Fragilaria construens (10.1%), Nitzschia
sigmoidea (6.14 %), Synedra tabulate (4.82%),
Synedra ulna (4.53 %), Achnanthes brevipes (3.33%),
Cocconeis bardawillensis (3.1%), Melosira granulata
(3.05%), Nitzschia longissima (2.6%), and Thalas-
siosira pacifica (2.06%). Regarding the percentage of
each algal species detected, it is of interest to refer the
existence of only four bacillariophytes species
including Licmophora gracilis, Gyrosigma acumi-
natum, Fragilaria construens, and Nitzschia sigmoi-
dea. These type of algae were represented in high rate
and reported by more than 50% of total abounded
diatoms within group "A" sites (Rabaa, El-Nasser, El-
Rewak, El-Rodh, and El-Telol) during the time period
of investigation (Table 7 and Figure 5). It is noticeable
that the common bacillariophytes species (11 species)
represented by more than 75% of the total diatom' cell
number within all sites of group "A", and up to 93.85%
within Rabaa. However, those species recorded in less
percentage (than 50%) of the rest of the sites (groups B
According to the abundance index results, ten
species of dinophytes were the most frequent and
abundant species throughout the investigation period
(Figure 8 and 9). These recorded species were
Protoperidinium leonis (13.73% of the total dinop-
hytes), Prorocentrum gracile (12.47%), Protoper-
idinium granii (9.87%), Alexandrium fundyense
(6.65%), Protoperidinium minutam (6.64%), Ceratium
furca (4.71%), Oxyphysis oxytoxoides (4.56%),
Protoperidinium cerasus (4.23%), Protoperidinium
claudicans (3.16%), and Prorocentrum lima (3.15%).
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
Figure (5): Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) of studded sites, with respect to both
chemical and biological parameters.
Figure (6): The abundance index of the recorded Bacillariophta
species along Bardawil Lagoon.
Figure (7): Light microscopy picture of common Bacillariophyta
recorded, (a) Nitzschia longissima; (b) Cocconeis barda-
willensis; (c) Achnanthes brevipes, (d) Gyrosigma acum-inatum;
(e) Nitzschia sigmoidea; (f) Licmophora flabellate; (g) Synedra
tabulate; (h) Fragilaria construens; (i) Melosira granulate;
(j)Thalassiosira pacifica and (k) Synedra ulna.
The average abundance percentage of the previously
mentioned common species formed more than 80% of
the total abounded dinophytes within group "A" sites
(Rabaa, El-Nasser, El-Rewak, El-Rodh, and El-Telol),
giving it maximum value (93.35%) at El-Rewak
(Table8). Meanwhile, within the rest sites, it did not
Figure (8): The abundance index of the recorded Dinophyta species
along Bardawil Lagoon.
Figure (9): Light microscopy picture of common Dinophyta
recorded, (a)Protoperidinium granii; (b) P. leonis; (c) P.
minutam; (d) P. claudicans; (e) P. cerasus; (f) Alexandrium
fundyense; (g) Ceratium furca; (h) Oxyphysis oxytoxoides; (i)
Prorocentrum lima and (j) P. gracile
In this context, the recorded results showed that, the
superior three species (Protoperidinium leonis, Pror-
ocentrum gracile, and Protoperidinium granii) formed
about 60% within Rabaa and El-Rewak. While, it
represented less than 20% within Boughaz I, Boughaz
II, and Masqut-Eplis.
A glance on ordination diagram produced by the
Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), clarify the
relations between water variables and the recorded
common species (Fig. 10). A remarkable relation
obtained between both dissolved oxygen and ortho-
phosphate with five species (Licmophora gracilis,
Protoperidinium cerasus, Nitzschia longissima,
Protoperidinium achromaticum and Protoperidinium
claudicans). It is of interest to mention that, none of
them were one of the most common species neither
from Bacillariophyta nor Dinophyta. On the other side,
the other recorded algal species were more related to
BOD, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, salinity, pH, silica, and
heavy metals. It is obvious from Figure. 11 that, the
diversity index of all sites distributed along Bardawil
Lagoon; except within El-Telol (1.9); varied from
slightly polluted (3 - 4.5) to light-polluted (2 - 3).
However, El-Telol classified according to the diversity
index as a moderately polluted area.
Table (5): The number of species belonging to each algal group within the studied sites along Bardawil
Total No. of taxa
Total No. of taxa
Table (6): The percentage of abundance for each algal group recorded in the studied sites along Bardawil Lagoon.
Table (7): The percentage of abundance for the common Bacillariophyta species recorded in the studied sites along
% of Total Bacillariophyta
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
Figure (10): Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) joint plot ordination diagram for common species (points) with
water variables (arrows) along Bardawil Lagoon. (The species names are abbreviated to the first letter from the name of
genus and species. For full names see table: 4).
Figure (11): The average of diversity index along Bardawil Lagoon’ sites.
Bardawil Lagoon considered the largest hypersaline
Mediterranean coastal lagoons, with a surface area of
685 km2, followed by Spanish Mediterranean Lagoon,
Mar Menor (135 km2). On the other hand, it has global
renown for high-quality fishes production, besides that,
it also considered a good habitat for resting migratory
birds, therefore, both the physicochemical and
biological composition must gain the attention. The
average value of hydrogen ion concentration (pH) in
the studied area fluctuated within a narrow range on the
alkaline side (from 7.6 to 8.8), the results which agree
with that recorded by Khalil et al., (2013) where it
ranged between 7.1-and 8.8. Siliem (1989) in his
studies on the chemical conditions in Bardawil Lagoon
reported that pH varied from 7.5 to 8.76 with an annual
average of 8.16. It is notable that, pH values showed a
slight variation among different stations. The salinity
of Bardawil Lagoon is higher than that of the open
Mediterranean Sea (Khalil and Shaltout, 2006) due to
the low rainfall rate (80 –100 mm/year) and the high
evaporation rate (1460 mm/year). The salinity of the
lagoon showed miscellaneous temporal and spatial
behavior giving its maximum value (72.7 g.L-1) within
Rabaa site and the minimum within Boughaz II (37.5
g.L-1) followed by Boughaz I (37.9 g.L-1). The obtained
results in the present study clarify that, the decrease in
salinity was relatively related to the distance from the
two artificial inlets with the sea (Boughaz I and II) at
which the lagoon exchange water with the
Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, the values of salinity in
the lagoon depend upon the state of the inlets; Where
during the opening period (after dredging) the salinity
was lower than its recorded values during partial
closure of the inlets by sand (Ali et al., 2006; Mehanna,
2014). The disturbing problem is that those artificial
inlets have a natural tendency to be closed completely
or partially by sand carried by waves and the current
along the coast, at the same time, the tidal flow is too
weak to keep them open. Accordingly, the present
study revealed that, the maximum salinity was
recorded in the eastern and western edges of the
lagoon. Therefore, the competent authorities should
pay more attention to the state of the lagoon inlets and
must incite the continuous dredging during the year to
remove the accumulated sand
Dissolved oxygen appraise as the key factor of life in
aquatic habitats. It is essential to the metabolic
activities of most aquatic organisms (Mofeed and
Abdel-Aal, 2015). On the other hand, it required for
transformation reactions (oxidation, nitrification, and
decomposition) of all the chemical compounds in the
water (Touliabah et al., 2002; Mofeed and Deyab,
2015). The average of dissolved oxygen during the
investigation period fluctuated from 5.4 to 8.5 mg.L-1,
which means that Bardawil Lagoon can be considered
as a well-oxygenated ecosystem because it usually
contains concentrations of DO above the minimum
WHO standard (5 mg .L-1) in water quality assessment
(Nkwo et al., 2010). Negm et al., (2019) reported that,
the recorded dissolved oxygen in Bardawil Lagoon
showed a distinct high values compared with the other
four northern Egyptian Lagoons. A more or less the
same results were recorded by Fouda et al., (1985);
Khalil et al., (2013); Ali et al., (2006); Mehanna
(2014); El-Sheekh et al., (2019). However, the
biological oxygen demand in all the studded sits varied
from 1.3 to 6.7 mg.L-1, giving its maximum within El-
Rewak. This result is compatible with the biological
results, where the maximum phytoplankton abundance
was also recorded at El-Rewak.
Distribution of nutrients in coastal water is affected
by regional conditions such as tidal incursion, rainfall
rate, inflow of freshwater and biological activities such
as uptake by phytoplankton beside the anthropogenic
activities (Satpathy et al., 2010). Khalil and Shaltout
(2006) reported that, generally concentrations of
dissolved inorganic nitrogen were low, with a
noticeable increase near the inlets due to exchanging
water with the sea. However, the maximum values of
nitrite, nitrate and ammonia were recorded within El-
Telol (9.8, 58.6 and 96 µg.L-1 respectively). This
superiority of El-Telol may be attributed to the human
activities of the fishermen community in that area. The
obtained annual average of nitrate, nitrite, and
ammonia were 43.32, 6.53 and 51.9 µg.L-1
respectively. In a previous study by El-Kassas et al.,
(2016), the annual averages of nitrate, nitrite, and
ammonia were 32.25, 2.25 and 60.25 µg.L-1
respectively, while Khalil et al., (2013), demonstrated
that, the annual average value of nitrite, nitrate and
ammonia respectively were 4.5, 42, and 48 µg.L-1,
furthermore, he reported that, ammonia was the main
source of inorganic nitrogen .
Phosphate is the most essential nutrient that can
govern the production of phytoplankton in coastal
ecosystems, and consequently, the variation in
phytoplankton depends upon the phosphate content
(Shaaban-Dessouki et al., 2004). Ortho-phosphate
showed its minimum regional mean at El-Telol (32
µg.L-1) however, the maximum values were recorded
within Boughaz I (48 µg.L-1), followed by Boughaz II
(46 µg.L-1) and it gradually decreased southward
during the study period with an annual average of 39.7
µg.L-1. This phenomenon indicated that phosphates
were passed from the seawater into the lagoon and then
often because of the high salinity of lagoon water than
the seawater, the inorganic phosphorus precipitated in
sediment. El-Kassas et al., (2016) reported that, the
average of phosphate concentrations was 2.44 µg.L-1,
while Khalil et al., (2013) indicated that, it reached 35
µg.L-1. Concerning silicate revealed that it had a
regional variation fluctuated from 69 µg.L-1 at El-Galas
to 133 µg.L-1 at El-Telol. In coastal water, the spatial
variation of silicate affected by several factors; the
biological uptake by phytoplankton (bacillariophytes
and silicoflagellates), the proportional mixing of
seawater with fresh-water or even the adsorption of
reactive silicate by suspended sedimentary particles
(Satpathy et al., 2010). The estimated heavy metals
showed the maximum concentrations within El-Telol,
while El-Rodh comes in the second position with a
significant gap. These high values of heavy metals at
the El-Telol attributed receiving the tailings of the
fishermen' boats. The minimum values always recorded
within El- Zaranik. The result, which was in
accordance that demonstrated by Ali et al., (2006) in
his study on water quality of Bardawil lagoon.
Generally, the environmental variables not only
control phytoplankton abundance but also significantly
influence its community composition (Blanco et al.,
2008), especially in such ecologically peculiar of
Bardawil Lagoon with its shallow and semi-enclosed
water. Therefore, it had specific structural and
functional characteristics resulting from their location.
The recorded data during the entire period of
investigation revealed that there were remarkable
spatial variations in both qualitative and quantitative
phytoplankton composition reflecting the environ-
mental factors, especially salinity, dissolved oxygen,
and nutrient availability. Therefore, the characteri--
zation of phytoplankton communities becomes
essential in recognizing the quality of ecosystems
(Cermeno et al., 2011). A relatively high total number
of taxa (106 taxa) recorded during the study period,
reflecting rich phytoplankton communities in the
Lagoon. The maximum number of species was
recorded near the opening of the artificial inlets
(Boughaz I and Boughaz II), this may be attributed to
exchanges water currents between the lagoon and the
Mediterranean Sea with its planktonic species and
lower water salinity. While the minimum numbers of
taxa were recorded on the eastern and western sides of
the lagoon, due to the high salinity that may impede the
growth of some species. In all sites, tyrant dominion of
the bacillariophytes in terms of the number of species
over the other algal groups, followed by dinophytes. A
more or less the same trend of dominance in taxa
number obtained by El-Kassas et al., (2016); Khalil et
al., (2013) and Ali et al., (2006) Zalat et al., (2019) El-
Sheekh et al., (2019).
Referring to the importance of Bardawil Lagoon
from both environmental and economic points of view,
as a source of the high-quality export fish, as well due
to its distinguished geographical location and
containing a natural protected area (Zaranik Protected
Area) for migratory organisms including some
endangered species, it is imperative that we have a role
in monitoring the environmental situation and dealing
with it in a sophisticated way, especially as the urban
extension and human activities extends to this area
quickly. This study monitored the changes in the
chemical characteristic of water, as well as the
abundance and distribution in the phytoplankton
composition which showed the same tend of
dominancy as algal groups but not as species
composition from what was observed in previous
studies due to the increase in unauthorized human
activities. Meanwhile, the supremacy of Bacillar-
iophyta and Dinophyta occurrence was recorded along
the study period despite the hyper-saline nature of the
Monitoring for Bardawil Lagoon
lagoon. This can be explained that this condition may
be supportive for the flourishing of such species. While
the recorded results at the level of species showed that
the common species that prevailed throughout the
study were other than the dominated species in
previous studies, such as Licmophora gracilis,
Gyrosigma acuminatum, Fragilaria construens,
Nitzschia sigmoidea, Protoperidinium leonis,
Prorocentrum gracile, and Protoperidinium granii.
This may threaten the balance of the ecosystem in the
lake, which will directly be reflected in its economic
productivity. Biodiversity increased near the two inlets
(Boughaz I and II), at which the water in the Lagoon
renew and refresh. Hence, regular dredging to the sand
accumulated in the two inlets by the action of water
current and tide became an urgent necessity. Therefore,
this study recommends further continuous follow-up by
ecological assessment and monitoring studies of
Bardawil Lagoon. Where one of the most important
priorities of science and society is to follow the
environmental status of natural reserves that have
become limited in the world due to the spread of
pollution in various forms all over the world.
Author expresses her appreciation toall hydro-
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Bacillariophytes Dinophytes Bacillariophyta Dinophytes
Nitzschia sigmoideaLicmophora gracilisGyrosigma acuminatum Fragilaria construensBacillariophytes
Protoperidinium granii Prorocentrum gracileProtoperidinium leonis Dinophytes