Phytoplankton changes during SE monsoonal period in the Lembeh Strait of North Sulawesi, Indonesia, from 2012 to 2015
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Phytoplankton species composition and abundance in the Lembeh Strait waters was studied in four cruises of April 2013, May 2014, June 2012 and October 2015, during the period of monsoon transition time of SE monsoon. With data obtained the seasonal alternations of phytoplankton community structures and its driving factors were discussed. A total of 416 taxa belonging to 5 classes of phytoplankton were recorded in the four month surveys. Phytoplankton density was averaged 2 348 cell/L and diatoms and dinoflagellates had the most diversified species. Cyanobacterium was characterized by its low species numbers but high abundance in the waters of Lembeh Strait. Total phytoplankton abundance occurred low in April and October in the monsoon transition period and it raised high in May and June during the SE monsoon. Frequently occurred species were pelagic diatoms in addition to cyanobacterium Trichodesmium. Abundance and diversity of phytoplankton significantly differed seasonally. The diatoms Thalassionema and Pseudo-nitzschia, and cyanobacterium Trichodesmium contributed most to the community dissimilarities. Due to potentially higher nutrient supply in the south of Lembeh Strait, diatoms and dinoflagellates showed higher densities in the south than in the north of the strait. Though, cyanobacterium preferred distributing much evenly in all waters, it had higher density in the southern Lembeh Strait. Total phytoplankton abundance is quite low compared with the Jakarta Bay and some bays in China. Analysis showed that nutrients from upwelling forced by SE monsoon are the key factor varying the monthly phytoplankton abundances. Due to its primitive nature state, Lembeh water can be an ideal location for the study of pelagic ecosystem under merely the influence of macro environment changes with lower background noise from human activities.
Key wordsLembeh Strait phytoplankton diversity community alternation Trichodesmium monsoon
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The authors thank the researchers and technicians who assisted in the implementation of the study and the help from the Research Center for Oceanography, Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
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