Studies on the ecology of zooplankton of Cochin backwaters

M. Madhupratap


Zooplankton abundance and its variation based on year round collections from the lower reaches of Cochin backwaters is reported. Homogeneous conditions in vertical distribution of salinity, temperature and oxygen occurred during the premonsoon period and changes from tidal influence were minimal during this season. But sharp vertical gradients developed during monsoons at the mouth when the upper strata of water column was occupid by freshwater. Higher numerical counts and biomass of zooplankton occurred during high saline premonsoon period. They fell sharply with the onset of monsoons. Tidal variations were not apparent in the distribution. Diel variations were also not significant except at Narakkal, a shallow station, where higher abundance was observed during night. Principal component analysis indicated salinity to be the key factor associated with the changes in zooplankton abundance. General composition of zooplankton, their seasonal variations and ecological implications are discussed and compared with estuaries elsewhere


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