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A Multi-decadal Comparative Analysis of a Set of Physicochemical and Nutrient Parameters in the Tropical Tidal Creeks of Indian Sundarban Mangrove Biosphere Reserve


Salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), dissolved inorganic nitrate (DIN), dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP), and reactive silicate (DSi) concentrations were measured in three tidal creeks in the Sagar Island (situated within the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, India) during 2016–17, once in a month throughout an annual cycle. The present observations were compared with a study carried out three-decade ago in the same locations during 1988–89. There was no significant difference in salinity between the years 1988-89 and 2016-17. Compared to the 1988–89 scenario, pH reduced considerably during 2016–17, indicating the dominance of heterotrophic activities over autotrophic processes. The comparative analysis shows that DO varied between 3.8 mg l− 1 and 5.4 mg l− 1 during 1988–89, which went to hypoxic levels (< 2 mg l− 1) during 2016–17. Such hypoxic conditions can lead to direct mortality of several marine biotas that thrives in these creeks. DIN and DSi concentrations reduced significantly. Compared to the 1988–89 scenario, DIN and DSi concentrations reduced by three times and ten times, respectively, in the year 2016-17. DIP concentration showed an increase in annual mean concentration, which was statistically not significant. Despite that DIN:DIP ratio reduced significantly during 2016–17 compared to that of 1988–89, which can lead to changes in the primary productivity potential of the phytoplankton community. Such changes in concentrations of the physicochemical and nutrient parameters can adversely affect the sustenance of several aquatic life forms and lead to changes in species composition or total abandonment.

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The authors are grateful to Prof. Pankaj Kumar Roy, Director, School of Environmental Studies, Jadavpur University, for furnishing the laboratory support. The authors are also deeply grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and recommendations to enhance the quality of the manuscript.

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All the authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Sanghamitra Basu and Abhra Chanda. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Sanghamitra Basu, Abhra Chanda and Subarna. Pranab Gogoi critically revised the Results and discussion and the statistical part. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Subarna Bhattacharyya.

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All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. 

Ethical Statement

The authors declare all the rules and all the accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct were stringently followed. While carrying out the present research, no animals were harmed or used as subjects of experiment. There was no involvement of human beings in this research and hence there is no question of sharing any private or personal information without informing the persons concerned. The authors also declare that they have strictly complied with the authorship principles furnished by the journal. 


All the author’s have provided consent to communicate the manuscript to ‘Thalassas: An International Journal of Marine Sciences’ and the institutions of the respective author’s have no objection in this regard. 


The author’s themselves have measured the primary data used in this study and the secondary data used in this study is duly cited all through the manuscript.

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Basu, S., Chanda, A., Gogoi, P. et al. A Multi-decadal Comparative Analysis of a Set of Physicochemical and Nutrient Parameters in the Tropical Tidal Creeks of Indian Sundarban Mangrove Biosphere Reserve. Thalassas 37, 303–312 (2021).

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  • Nitrate
  • Phosphate
  • Silicate
  • Long-term change
  • Anthropogenic activities