Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2592–2602 | Cite as

Spatial variations in trophic-functional patterns of periphytic ciliates and indications to water quality in coastal waters of the Yellow Sea

  • Mohammad Nurul Azim Sikder
  • Mamun Abdullah Al
  • Guangjian Xu
  • Guobin Hu
  • Henglong XuEmail author
Research Article


To evaluate the water quality status using ecological features of the periphytic ciliate communities, a 1-year (Jan. to Dec., 2016) investigation was conducted in coastal waters of the Yellow Sea, northern China. Four trophic-functional groups (TFgrs) were recorded from a total of 141 species-abundance dataset: algivores (A); bacterivores (B); non-selectives (N); and predators (R), comprising of 65, 34, 26, and 16 species, respectively. In terms of species number, TFgr A was predominant in clean areas while TFgrs B and N were dominant in heavy polluted areas and TFgr R was dominant in slightly polluted area. The trophic-functional patterns of the periphytic ciliate communities showed a clear spatial variation within the pollution gradient. Trophic-functional trait diversity measures represented a clear increasing trend from polluted stations to the clean area regarding the pollution gradients. Multivariate correlation and best matching analysis revealed that the spatial pattern of the trophic-functional groupings were significantly shaped by environmental variable nutrients and chemical oxygen demand, alone or in combination with pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and transparency. Thus, we suggest that the ecological features based on the trophic-functional patterns of periphytic ciliate communities might be used for bioassessment of water quality in marine ecosystems.


Periphytic ciliates Trophic-functional grouping Functional trait Environment pollution Marine ecosystems 



This work was supported by “The Natural Science Foundation of China” (project number: 31672308), the Excellent Master’s scholarship (CSC no.: 2016GXY030), and the Doctoral (CSC no.: 2017SOA016554) award from Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) under the Ministry of Education of China.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3744_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 13 kb)
11356_2018_3744_MOESM2_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Table S2 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Nurul Azim Sikder
    • 1
  • Mamun Abdullah Al
    • 1
  • Guangjian Xu
    • 1
  • Guobin Hu
    • 2
  • Henglong Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Marine Life SciencesOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Institute of Evolution and Marine BiodiversityOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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