Periphyton and phytoplankton assessment in a shrimp nursery: signature pigments analysis

  • F. LlarioEmail author
  • M. Rodilla
  • S. Falco
  • J. Escrivá
  • M. T. Sebastiá-Frasquet
Original Paper


Understanding microalgae composition is key for an improved aquaculture system management. The primary objective of this research was to estimate microalgae community structure in a Marsupenaeus japonicus nursery. The secondary objective was to analyze the environmental parameters (salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates) and shrimp density effect on abundance, composition and development of microalgae in a shrimp nursery. Periphyton and phytoplankton composition and abundance were determined using HPLC signature pigment analysis coupled with CHEMTAX software. Environmental parameters were measured in the tanks with probes or in the laboratory following standard procedures of water quality analysis. A nonparametric repeated-measures ANOVA statistical analysis was done to test differences between treatments. Spearman rank correlation analyses were performed on environmental and biological variables with phytoplankton or periphyton groups in order to examine significant relationship. The results showed diatoms were significantly higher than any other groups in both phytoplankton and periphyton communities. Shrimp density effect on periphyton, phytoplankton composition and environmental parameters was minor. Nutrients played a key role on phytoplankton development, but had a minor effect on periphyton, which was more affected by colonization processes and other environmental variables. The analysis of signature pigments allowed to report the presence of previously undetected groups on periphyton, prasinophytes and prymnesiophytes, which are characterized by high nutritional value. This is especially important in nurseries because shrimp grazing on periphyton can increase post-larvae survival.


CHEMTAX Marsupenaeus japonicus Microalgae High-performance liquid chromatography 



Financial support for this research was provided by Conselleria d’Educació, Investigació, Cultura i Esport of the Generalitat Valenciana, through the program VALi+D, file Number ACIF/2014/244. The authors want to thank the anonymous reviewer for the accurate revision and useful comments which helped to improve the original manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.


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© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut d’Investigació per a la Investigació de Zones Costaneres (IGIC)Universitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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