A quantitative study of the phytoplankton in the Blue and White Niles at Khartoum
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The variation in numbers of the major planktonic algae in the surface waters of the Blue Nile and White Nile were followed for 29 months (August 1968–December 1970). In terms of biomass, the phytoplankton was dominated by diatoms and blue-green algae; other groups were of minor importance. High phytoplankton densities occurred during winter in both rivers, and during summer in the Blue Nile, with values in the latter river greater than in the former. Melosira granulata and its variety angustissima and Anabaena flos-aquae var. intermedia f. spiroides were the most important taxa in the two Niles. Melosira distans and Attheya zachariasi, which are reported for the first time in the present study, preponderated at certain times in the Blue Nile. Microcystisflos-aqua which had been a minor component of the phytoplankton in both rivers during the early 1950s, showed a profuse growth in the Blue Nile. Lyngbya limnetica, Anabaenopsis cunningtonii and A. tanganyikae, which constituted important components of the phytoplankton in the early 1950s, either disappeared or maintained themselves in reduced numbers during the present study. This change in the algal flora of the two Niles may be attributed to the construction of the Roseres dam across the Blue Nile in 1966 and to the invasion of the White Nile by Eichhornia crassipes in 1957.
KeywordsSudan algae Blue Nile plankton ecology tropical rivers White Nile
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