Abundance and distribution of intertidal polychaetes in the Vasishta Godavari Estuary

D.S. Rao, D.V.R. Sarma


The abundance and distribution of polychaetes in 270 samples collected from the intertidal zones of the lower 16 km stretch of Vasishta Godavari estuary is discussed in relation to temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, substratum, composition and organic matter content in the sediment. Salinity in the estuary varied from near zero during July to 35 ppt in May. The organic matter content of the sediment ranged from 0.11 to 4.2%. The polychaete abundance, which was high during the summer period (March-June) reduced markedly during the annual freshwater flood period (July-September). The numbers gradually increased again during the recovery period (October-February) when the 'seasonal migrants' started entering and settling in the estuary in progressive stages depending upon their capacities to tolerate fluctuating salinities and differences in the composition of substratum. The estuary exhibited high polychaete diversity


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