The major Indian rivers bring significant amount of freshwater along with inorganic nutrients and sediment load in to the northern Bay of Bengal (BOB) during the southwest monsoon (SWM); the southern bay does not experience equal freshening. This contrasting pattern may considerably impact the physicochemical features and phytoplankton community composition in this bay and was investigated during a coastal cruise during the SWM covering eight river plumes from both northern and southern bay; phytoplankton pigments and physicochemical parameters were analysed from different depths (0, 10, 25, and 50 m). Significant freshening, stratification and warmer waters were noticed in the northern bay relative to its southern part. Phytoplankton pigment analysis and diagnostic pigment-based size class analysis revealed the dominance of microphytoplankton (mainly diatoms) in the northern bay and were mostly confined to the surface waters. Their abundance was positively correlated with dissolved silicate (DSi) concentrations and inversely with salinity. Nanophytoplankton and picophytoplankton (prymnesiophytes, chrysophytes and cyanophytes) were mostly noticed in the subsurface waters and dominated the southern bay. This finding suggests that the dominance of microphytoplankton in the northern bay may significantly contribute to higher particle flux which has been reported earlier. Therefore, any modification in future river discharge, which is in turn related to the intensity of Indian summer monsoon, will alter the phytoplankton community structure in the coastal BOB and may be further cascaded to the other vital ecosystem components like fisheries resources, organic carbon export flux and benthic production.
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We thank the director, CSIR National Institute of Oceanography (NIO, Goa) and Scientist in Charge (SIC) Visakhapatnam for their continuous support and encouragement. We appreciate the help of the ship’s master, officers and crew members during sampling. We are thankful to the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) for allotting ship time for this study. All other help and cooperation from all the participants of CSIR-NIO, RC, Visakhapatnam are gratefully acknowledged here. NIO contribution number for this publication is 5961.
Communicated by James L. Pinckney
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Bandyopadhyay, D., Biswas, H. & Sarma, V.V.S.S. Impacts of SW Monsoon on Phytoplankton Community Structure Along the Western Coastal BOB: an HPLC Approach. Estuaries and Coasts 40, 1066–1081 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-016-0198-6
- Phytoplankton pigment
- River discharge