Spatiotemporal Fluctuations in Phytoplankton Communities and Their Potential Indications for the Pollution Status of the Irrigation and Drainage Water in the Middle Nile Delta Area, Egypt

  • Mohamed Ghobara
  • Zenhom E. SalemEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 74)


Water pollution monitoring programs should include phytoplankton analysis to get a deep understanding of the degree of pollution and eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems. In this chapter, spatial and temporal variations of the phytoplankton composition in the Middle Nile Delta surface water were investigated. Water was sampled from two main irrigation canals (Qudaba and Mit-yazed canal) and two main drains (Janag drain and El-Gharbia main drain). A total number of 250 species and varieties belonging to 100 genera and 7 algal divisions were recorded. Bacillariophyta, Chlorophyta, Cyanophyta, and Euglenophyta were the most important and effective algal divisions in the surface water of the Nile Delta. The phytoplankton communities of the irrigation canals had a quite similar composition and so the communities of drains except in the estuary of El-Gharbia main drain. Significant differences were found between drain’s phytoplankton communities and that of irrigation canals.

In general, the temperature and nutrient availability during summer seemed to give higher productivity in both irrigation and drainage water. There was evidence for heavy organic pollution through the presence of pollution-tolerant algal taxa; also there were many species that were tolerant to eutrophication. In this work, besides the observation of phytoplankton communities’ fluctuations, a phytoplankton checklist was established for irrigation and drainage water of the Middle Nile Delta so that it can be used as environmental bioindicators and other probable applications. Palmer index was used to evaluate the organic contamination in the studied water bodies. Organic pollution in summer was higher than that of winter. In general, pollution increased along the water pathways from southern to northern direction.


Checklist Drainage Irrigation canals Middle Nile Delta Phytoplankton community Pollution Surface water 



The authors are grateful to Tanta University for the financial support offered during the course of this research work. The authors thank the editor, Prof. Dr. Abdelazim Negm, for his constructive remarks.


  1. 1.
    Allam MN, Allam GI (2007) Water resources in Egypt: future challenges and opportunities. Water Int 32:205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abdel-Shafy H, Aly RO (2002) Water issue in Egypt: resources, pollution and protection endeavors. Cent Eur J Occup Eniviron Med 8(1):3–21Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abdel-Dayem S, Abdel-Gawad S, Fahmy H (2007) Drainage in Egypt: a story of determination, continuity and success. Irrig Drain 56(S1):101–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    El Bedawy R (2014) Water resources management: alarming crisis for Egypt. J Manag Sustain 4(3):108–124Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Parmar T, Rawtani D, Agrawal YK (2016) Bioindicators: the natural indicator of environmental pollution. Front Life Sci 9:110–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bellinger E, Sigee D (2010) Freshwater algae: identification and use as bioindicators. Wiley-Blackwell, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Omar WMW (2010) Perspectives on the use of algae as biological indicators for monitoring and protecting aquatic environments, with special reference to Malaysian freshwater ecosystems. Trop Life Sci Res 21(2):51–67Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Barbieri CB, Schwarzbold A, Rodriguez MT (2007) Environmental crime investigation in Arroio do Meio, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: tannery and shoe factory waste landfill case study. Environ Forensic 8(4):361–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    El-Sheekh MM (2017) Impact of water quality on ecosystems of the Nile River. In: Negm AM, El-Basset NA (eds) The Nile River. Springer, ChamGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mohamed Z (2016) Harmful cyanobacteria and their cyanotoxins in Egyptian fresh waters – state of knowledge and research needs. Afr J Aquat Sci 41(4):361–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Xu G, Hu B, Shen R, Pan X, Zhou X (2011) Applications for drowning identification by planktonic diatom test on rats in forensic medicine. Proc Eng 18:417–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    El-Sheekh MM, Deyab MA, Desouki SS, Eladl M (2010) Phytoplankton compositions as a response of water quality in El Salam canal Hadous drain and Damietta branch of River Nile Egypt. Pak J Bot 42(4):2621–2633Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Badr El-Din SM, Hamed AS, Ibrahim AN, Shatta AM, Abo-Sedera SA (2015) Phytoplankton in irrigation and draining water canals of east Nile Delta of Egypt. Glob J Biol Agric Health Sci 4(2):56–60Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shaaban AM, Mansour HA, Saber AA (2011) Relationships between total chlorophyll and phytoplankton individuals of Rosetta branch of River Nile, Egypt. Int Res J Biochem Bioinform 1(10):257–265Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shaaban AS, Mansour HA, Saber AA (2012) Phytoplankton in relation to some physico-chemical characteristics of water in Rosetta Branch of River Nile, Egypt. Egypt J Bot 52(2):483–497Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Abdel-Baky JM (2001) Effect of some wastes on the algal biodiversity in the delta region of the river Nile. Master thesis, Faculty of Science, Mansoura University, MansouraGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Deyab MA (2003) Phytoplankton as bioindicator for water quality in relationship with fishmortality in fish farms at northeast of Damiatta-Egypt. Egypt J Phycol 4(1):55–70Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shehata SA, Ali GH, Wahba SZ (2008) Distribution pattern of Nile water algae with reference to its treatability in drinking water. J Appl Sci Res 4(6):722–730Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Salem ZE (2009) Natural and human impacts on the groundwater under an Egyptian village, central Nile Delta – a case study of Mehallet Menouf. In: Thirteenth international water technology conference (IWTC 13), vol 3, Hurghada, 12–15 Mar 2009, pp 1397–1414Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Abdo MH, Sabae SZ, Haroon BM, Refaat BM, Mohammed AS (2010) Physicochemical characteristics, microbial assessment and antibiotic susceptibility of pathogenic bacteria of Ismailia canal water, River Nile, Egypt. J Am Sci 6(5):234–250Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Elewa HH (2010) Potentialities of water resources pollution of the Nile River Delta, Egypt. Open Hydrol J 4:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gemail K, El-Shishtawy AM, El-Alfy M, Ghoneim MF, El-Bary MHA (2011) Assessment of aquifer vulnerability to industrial waste water using resistivity measurements. A case study, along El-Gharbyia main drain, Nile Delta, Egypt. J Appl Geophys 75:140–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Morsy W, El-Fakharany Z (2012) Predicting the impact of surface wastewater on groundwater quality in Quesna Industrial Area. J Am Sci 8:772–781Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Salema MG, El-Awady MH, Amine E (2012) Enhanced removal of dissolved iron and manganese from nonconventional water resources in Delta District, Egypt. Energy Procedia 18:983–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ghoraba SM, Zyedan BA, Rashwan IMH (2013) Solute transport modeling of the groundwater for quaternary aquifer quality management in Middle Delta, Egypt. Alex Eng J 52:197–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Khalil MA, Salem ZE, Gheda SF, El-Sheekh MM (2013) Quality assessment of drinking water in Tanta City, Egypt. J Environ Sci Eng B 2:257–275Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bennett PC, El Shishtawy AM, Sharp JM, Atwia MG (2014) Source and migration of dissolved manganese in the Central Nile Delta aquifer, Egypt. J African Earth Sci 96:8–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Elkafoury A, Dawoud W, Negm A, Bady M, Aly MH (2014) Integrated framework for evaluating the impact of urban transportation gaseous emissions on groundwater quality. Int Water Technol J 4:114–124Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Fattah MK, Ragab EG (2014) Assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution in the southern part of Nile Delta, Egypt. Stand Sci Res Essays 2:725–738Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    El-Kowrany SI, El-Zamarany EA, El-Nouby KA, El-Mehy DA, Ali EA, Othman AA, Salah W, El-Ebiary AA (2016) Water pollution in the middle Nile Delta, Egypt: an environmental study. J Adv Res 7:781–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Negm AM, Armanuos AM (2017) GIS-based spatial distribution of groundwater quality in the western Nile Delta, Egypt. In: Negm AM (ed) The Nile Delta. The handbook of environmental chemistry. Springer, ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Negm AM, Eltarabily MGA (2017) Modeling of fertilizer transport through soil, case study: Nile Delta. In: Negm AM (ed) The Nile Delta. The handbook of environmental chemistry. Springer, ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Salem ZE, Al Temamy AM, Salah MK, Kassab M (2016) Origin and characteristics of brackish groundwater in Abu Madi coastal area, Northern Nile Delta, Egypt. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 178:21–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Sharaky AM, El-Hasanein AS, Atta SA, Khallaf KM (2017) Nile and groundwater interaction in the Western Nile Delta, Egypt. In: Negm AM (ed) The Nile Delta. The handbook of environmental chemistry. Springer, ChamGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Salem ZE, Osman OM (2017) Use of major ions to evaluate the hydrogeochemistry of groundwater influenced by reclamation and seawater intrusion, West Nile Delta, Egypt. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:3675–3704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Abdel-Satar AM, Ali MH, Goher ME (2017) Indices of water quality and metal pollution of Nile River, Egypt. Egypt J Aquat Res 43(1):21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Salem Z, Ghobara M, Nahrawy AA (2017) Spatio-temporal evaluation of the surface water quality in the middle Nile Delta using Palmer’s algal pollution index. Egypt J Basic Appl Sci 4(3):219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Prescott GW (1962) Algae of the western Great Lakes area. W. C. Brown, DubuqueGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Prescott GW (1978) How to know the fresh water algae.3rd edn. W. C. Brown, DubuqueGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hustedt F (1927–1966) Die Kieselalgen Deutschlands, Österreichs und der Schweiz. In: Rabenhorst L (ed) Kryptogamenflora von Deutschland, Oesterreich und der Schweiz, Akad Ver gesel Leipzig 1:1–920, 2:1–845, 3:1–816Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Hendey NI (1964) An introductory account of the smaller algae of British waters. V: Bacillariophyceae (Diatoms). Fisheries investment series, IV. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, London, p 317Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Whitford LA, Schumacher GJ (1973) A manual of fresh-water algae. Sparks Press, RaleighGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Desikachary VT (1959) Cyanophyta. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    APHA (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and waste water.21st edn. APHA/AWWA/WPCF, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Ghobara MM (2016) Studies on the frustules of some diatom species and its applications in nanotechnology. Master thesis, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, TantaGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Bhasin RKS, Shukla AN, Shrivastava S (2016) Algal biodiversity in relation with water quality criterion of River Kshipra. J Biol Sci Med 2(1):37–44Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Schabhüttl S, Hingsamer P, Weigelhofer G, Hein T, Weigert A, Striebel M (2013) Temperature and species richness effects in phytoplankton communities. Oecologia 171(2):527–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Wen Y, Schoups G, van de Giesen N (2017) Organic pollution of rivers: combined threats of urbanization, livestock farming and global climate change. Sci Rep 7:43289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Elewa AA, Shehata MB, Mohamed LF, Badr MH, Abdel Aziz GS (2009) Water quality characteristics of the River Nile at delta barrage with special reference to Rosetta branch. Glob J Environ Res 3(1):1–6Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Abou-Waly HF, Farid AA, Dawah AMA (2000) Influence of nitrogen/phosphorus ratios on the productivity of Nile river phytoplankton. Int J Environ Stud 57(6):753–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Shehata SA, Badr SA, Ali GH, Ghazy MM, Moawad AK, Wahba SZ (2009) Assessment of Nile water quality via phytoplankton changes and toxicity bioassay test. J Appl Sci Res 5(12):2083–2095Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Deyab MA, Nematalla MM, El-Adl FM (2001) Phytoplankton diversity in some fish farms of west Damietta. J Union Arab Biol Bot Physiol Algae 8B:65–88Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Deyab MA, Nematalla MM, El-Adl FM (2002) Phytoplankton diversity in some ponds at New Damietta – Egypt. Egypt J Phycol 3:1–15Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Fathi AA, Flower R (2005) Water quality and phytoplankton communities in Lake Qarun (Egypt). J Aquat Sci 67(3):350–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Radwan AM (2005) Some factors affecting the primary production of phytoplankton in lake, Burulus. Egypt J Aquat Res 31(2):72–88Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  2. 2.Egypt Nanotechnology Center, El-Sheikh Zayed CampusCairo UniversitySheikh Zayed CityEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Geology, Faculty of ScienceTanta UniversityTantaEgypt

Personalised recommendations