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Ecology, Diversity, and Abundance of Macrobenthic Crustaceans in Cochin Estuary, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, INDIA

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 3, Issue (IVC-2014), Pages 137-148, (2014)

Abstract

Crustaceans that filter plankton or bacteria from the water are common and diversified in estuarine environments. Other crustaceans are active predators or scavenge nutrients from detritus. A few are adapted to high salinity and are parasitic or sessile, hatching young that resemble miniature adults; others go through larval stages. This study examined the diversity and ecology of macrobenthic crustaceans from selected stations in Cochin estuary, Kerala. Field sampling conducted from June 2009 to May 2011 on monthly basis. The major crustaceans were amphipods, tanaids, isopods, insects, decapods, and acarina. Corophium volutator and Cirolana fluviatilis were the dominant amphipod and isopod species, respectively. Tanais philetaerus Stebbing was the dominant tanaid species. The crab species Halicarcinus messor was the dominant decapod and Neumania spp. (water mite) were the major Acaridae. Chironomid larvae were the most abundant insects. The temperature and pH of the sediments and benthic waters varied seasonally, and the dissolved oxygen content of the latter greatly influenced the diversity and abundance. The spatial abundance of the crustaceans varied between the stations, with a low at Station 8 (80 no/m) and a high at Station 5 (9733 no/m). The seasonal abundance was least (182 no/m) during the pre-monsoon season of 2011, and maximum (7935 no/m) in the post-monsoon season in 2009–10. The numerical abundance varied between the three zones of the estuary, with the maximum mean abundance found in the middle region (4452 no/m), followed by the southern (2582 no/m) and northern (1157 no/m) regions. The crustacean abundance fell remarkably between the first (3705 no/m) and second (1674 no/m) years. The numerical abundance was highest in the region of the estuary with high salinity, a moderate pH, and a high percentage of silt and clay.

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