Seasonality of phytoplankton in some South Indian lakes

  • A. R. Zafar
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 33)


The landscape of South India is dotted with innumerable man-made lakes. They differ vastly in age, physiography, water flow characteristics, chemistry and trophic state, yet maintain a phytoplankton overwhelmingly dominated (43–93%) by blue-green algae; the subdominants are diatoms and/or Chlorococcales and euglenoids. The blue-greens apparently reach them from soils which are known to harbour a rich blue-green flora and several species in common with limnoplankton.

South Indian lakes resemble some tropical counterparts in sustaining dense phytoplankton populations all the year round and temperate dimictic ones in showing two annual growth peaks that usually occur in summer (February-May) and the post-monsoon period (October-November), in synchrony with rise in temperature. In the chemically more oligotrophic lakes, the peaks are constituted by Raphidiopsis mediterranea Skuja, Navicula cryptocephala Kütz., Melosira granulata (Ehr.) Ralfs, and others and in hypereutrophic lakes by Microcystis aeruginosa Kütz., Synechocystis aquatilis Sauv., Oscillatoria spp., Burkillia coronata West & West and Euglena acus Ehr. The bimodal seasonality in abundance of phytoplankton reflects in chlorophyll and biomass concentrations although these are not in strict synchrony with each other. At the maxima chlorophyll a and over-dry biomass may rise to 8.5 mg 1-1 and 204 mg 1-1 respectively in highly productive waters. The highest rate of carbon assimilation recorded in such phases is 10.6 g Cm-3 d-1.


Microcystis Aeruginosa Freshwater Pond Limnological Study Phytoplankton Maximum Tropical Counterpart 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Public Health Association (A.P.H.A.), 1971. Standard methods for the examination of water and waste water. New York, 874 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Chowdhury, A. & G. S. Sarwade, 1982. A simple approach for climatic classification of India. Trop. Ecol. 23: 234–246.Google Scholar
  3. Cynthia, M. E., 1980. Ecological investigations of two small lakes situated in Hyderabad development area. Ph.D. thesis, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  4. Fogg, G. E., 1975. Algal cultures and phytoplankton ecology. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Wisconsin, USA, 175 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Gaarder, T. & H. H. Gran, 1927. Investigations on the production of plankton in the Oslo Fjord. Rapp. Cons, explor. Mer. 144: 56–60.Google Scholar
  6. Ganapati, S. V., 1940. The ecology of a temple tank containing a permanent bloom of Microcystis aeruginosa(Kuetz.) Henfr. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 42: 65–77.Google Scholar
  7. Ganapati, S. V., 1957. Limnological studies of the upland waters in the Madras State. Arch. Hydrobiol. 53: 30–61.Google Scholar
  8. Ganapati, S. V., 1959. Ecology of tropical waters. Proc. Symp. Algol. ICAR, New Delhi, pp. 204–218.Google Scholar
  9. Gonzalves, E. A. & D. B. Joshi, 1946. Freshwater algae near Bombay. I. The seasonal succession of the algae in a tank near Bandra. J. Bombay.Nat. Hist. Soc. 46: 154–176.Google Scholar
  10. Hecky, R. E. & H. J. Kling, 1981. The phytoplankton and protozooplankton of the euphotic zone of Lake Tanganyika: species composition, biomass, chlorophyll content and spatiotemporal distribution. Limnol. Oceanogr. 26: 548–564.Google Scholar
  11. Khan, A. A. & A. Q. Siddiqui, 1971. Primary production in a tropical fish pond at Aligarh, India. Hydrobiologia 37: 447–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Khanum, Atiya, 1980. Ecological Studies of the Husain Sagar and Saroornagar lakes with reference to the planktonic and matforming algal communities. Ph.D. Thesis. Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  13. Krishnan, M. S., 1982. Geology of India and Burma. CBS Publishers and Distributors. Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  14. Lewis, W. M. Jr., 1978. Dynamics and succession of phytoplankton in a tropical lake: Lake Lanao, Philippines. J. Ecol. 66: 849–880.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mohan, K. S., 1980. Limnology of the Osman Sagar and Mir Alam lakes. Ph.D. Thesis. Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  16. Munawar, M., 1966. Limnological studies in certain polluted and unpolluted ponds of Hyderabad (A.P.), India. Ph.D. Thesis, Osmania University, Hyderabad ( A.P. ), India, 173 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Munawar, M., 1970. Limnological studies on freshwater ponds of Hyderabad, India. II. The biocenose. Hydrobiologia 36: 105–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Munawar, M., 1974a. Limnological studies of freshwater ponds of Hyderabad, India. IV. The biocenose. Periodicity and species composition of unicellular and colonial phytoplankton in polluted and unpolluted environments. Hydrobiologia 45: 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Munawar, M., 1974b. Limnological studies on freshwater ponds of Hyderabad, India (III). Hydrobiologia 44: 13–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Munawar, M. & I. F. Munawar, 1982. Phycological studies in lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior. Can. J. Bot. 60: 1837–1858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Munawar, M. & A. R. Zafar, 1967. A preliminary study of vertical movement of Eudorina elegansand Trinema lineareduring a bloom caused by them. Hydrobiologia 29: 142–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Parsons, T. R. & J. D. H. Strickland, 1963. Discussion of spectrophotometric determination of marine plant pigments with revised equations for ascertaining chlorophylls and carotenoids. J. Mar. Res. 21: 155–163.Google Scholar
  23. Qasim, S. Z., S. Wellershaus, P. M. A. Bhattathiri & S. A. H. Abidi, 1969. Organic production in a tropical estuary. Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. B. 69: 51–94.Google Scholar
  24. Raju, N. Subba, 1972. The blue-green algae from the soils of India. In: Taxonomy and biology of Blue-green Algae (Ed. T. V. Desikachary ). Univ. Madras, pp. 332–352.Google Scholar
  25. Rao, I. S., 1982. Ecology of the Manjira Reservoir. Ph.D. Thesis. Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  26. Richards, F. A. & T. G. Thompson, 1952. The estimation and characterization of plankton populations of pigment analysis. II. A spectrophotometric method for the estimation of plant pigments. J. Mar. Res. 11: 156–172.Google Scholar
  27. Seenayya, G., 1972. Ecological studies in the plankton of certainfreshwater ponds of Hyderabad, India. II. Phytoplankton-2. Hydrobiologia 39: 247–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Seenayya, G. & A. R. Zafar, 1979. An ecological study of the Mir Alam Lake, Hyderabad, India. Ind. J. Bot. 2: 214–220.Google Scholar
  29. Seenayya, G. & A. R. Zafar, 1981. Algal bloom patterns indicating organic pollution. Proc. WHO Workshop on ‘Biological Indicators and Indices of Environmental Pollution’. Cent. Bd. Prevention and Control of Pollution, Delhi, pp. 101–111.Google Scholar
  30. Selvam, B. C. P., 1981. A study into the ecology of macrophytes of industrially polluted Husain Sagar and highly eutrophic Mir Alam lakes. Ph.D. Thesis. Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  31. Singh, R. N., 1961. Role of blue-green algae in nitrogen economy of Indian agriculture. Monographs on Algae, ICAR, New Delhi, 175 pp.Google Scholar
  32. Sreenivasan, A., 1964. Diurnal oxygen curve method for studying the productivity of waters. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. India 6: 167–168.Google Scholar
  33. Sreenivasan, A., 1970. Limnology of tropical impoundments: A comparative study of the major reservoirs in Madras State. Hydrobiologia 36: 443–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Strickland, J. D. H. & T. R. Parsons, 1965. A manual of sea water analysis (with special reference to the more common micronutrients and to particulate organic materials). Bull. No. 125. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada. OttawaGoogle Scholar
  35. Tailing, J. F., 1966. The annual cycle of stratification and phytoplankton growth in Lake Victoria (East Africa). Int. Rev. ges. Hydrobiol. 51: 545–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thresh, J. C., J. F. Beale & E. V. Suckling, 1949. The examination of water and water supplies. (Ed. E. W. Taylor). J. & A. Churchill Ltd. London, 819 pp.Google Scholar
  37. Vollenweider, R. A., 1968. Scientific fundamentals of the eutrophication of lakes and flowing waters, with particular references to nitrogen and phosphorus as factors in eutrophication. Organ. Econ. Coop. Dev. Rep., Paris.Google Scholar
  38. Vollenweider, R. A., 1969. A manual on methods for measuring primary production in aquatic environment. IBP Handb. No. 12, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.Google Scholar
  39. Vollenweider, R. A., M. Munawar & P. Stadelmann, 1974. A comparative review of phytoplankton and primary production in the Laurentian Great Lakes. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. 31: 739–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Welch, P. S., 1948. Limnological methods. McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc. New York, 381 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Wilcox, L. V. & J. T. Hatcher, 1950. Methods of analysis used in the Rubidoux Laboratory, Riverside, California. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, California, 67 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Zafar, A. R., 1966. Limnology of the Husain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad, India. Phykos 5: 115–126.Google Scholar
  43. Zafar, A. R., 1967. On the ecology of algae in certain fish ponds of Hyderabad, India. III. The Periodicity. Hydrobiologia 30:96–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. Zafar
    • 1
  1. 1.Limnology Laboratory, Department of BotanyOsmania UniversityHyderabadIndia

Personalised recommendations