Seasonal Variations of Zooplankton Diversity in a Perennial Reservoir at Thoppaiyar, Dharmapuri District, South India

Research Article

Austin J Aquac Mar Biol. 2014;1(1): 7.

Seasonal Variations of Zooplankton Diversity in a Perennial Reservoir at Thoppaiyar, Dharmapuri District, South India

Manickam N1*, Saravana Bhavan P1, Santhanam P2, Muralisankar T1, Srinivasan V1, Radhakrishnan S1, Vijayadevan K3, Chitrarasu P4 and Jawahar Ali A4

1Department of Zoology, Bharathiar University, South India

2Department of Marine Science, Bharathidasan University, South India

3Department of Zoology, Govt. Arts College, South India

4Department of Zoology, The New College, South India

*Corresponding author: Manickam N, Crustacean Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore - 641046, Tamilnadu, South India.

Received: August 28, 2014; Accepted: November 11, 2014; Published: November 18, 2014


Zooplankton community is cosmopolitan in nature and they inhabit all freshwater habitats of the world. The zooplankton diversity is one of the most important ecological parameters in water quality and biodiversity assessment because they are strongly affected by environmental conditions and respond quickly to changes in water quality. Zooplankton is the intermediate link between phytoplankton and fish. The qualitative and quantitative study of zooplankton is very importance in the plankton diversity. Hence the present investigation was carried out in the Thoppaiyar reservoir (Lat. 11°57'21"N and Long. 78°6'28"E) at Dharmapuri District, South India. The physico-chemical characteristics and zooplankton diversity were studied for a period of one year from December-2010 to November-2011. A total of 55 species of zooplankton were recorded, which includes 19 species of Rotifera, 13 species of Cladocera, 15 species of Copepoda and 8 species of Ostracoda. The population abundance of zooplankton was noticed in the following order: Rotifera > Copepoda > Cladocera > Ostracoda. The present study revealed that the zooplankton productivity was found to be rich in Thoppaiyar reservoir. Further it is concluded that the Thoppaiyar reservoir could be continuously utilized for aquaculture, if proper water quality management measures are adopted.

Keywords: Zooplankton; Rotifera; Cladocera; Copepoda; Ostracoda; Biodiversity


%: Percentage; °C: Degree of Celsius; μm: micrometer; μP: Microprocessor; AM: Ante Meridian; DO: Dissolved oxygen; E: East; EC: Electrical Conductivity; ind./l: Number of individual per litre; l: liter; mS: milli-Seamers; N: North; No. ind./l: Number of individual per litre; pH: power of Hydrogen; ppm: part per million; TDS: Total Dissolved solid


The zooplankton (microscopic drifting or wandering animals) occupies a vital role in the tropic structure of an aquatic ecosystem and plays a key role in the energy transfer. Unlike algae or phytoplankton, zooplanktons are microscopic animals that do not produce their own food. Freshwater zooplanktons play an important role in ponds, lakes and reservoirs ecosystem and food chain. They are responsible for the eating millions of little algae that may otherwise grow to an out-of-control state. However, not all algae are edible and oftentimes it's the blue green algae that we would like to see disappear that cannot be eaten. In fact, as mostly filter feeders, a community of zooplankton can filter through the volume of an entire lake in a matter of days. The zooplankton community is composed of both primary consumers (which eat phytoplankton) and secondary consumers (which feed on the other zooplankton). The zooplankton forms a major link in the energy transfer at secondary level in aquatic food webs between autotrophs and heterotrophs [1]. Nearly all fish depend on zooplankton for food during their larval phases and some fish continue to eat zooplankton in their entire lives [2].

The aquatic ecosystems are affected by several health stressors that significantly deplete biodiversity. Zooplankton species have different types of life histories influenced by seasonal variations of biotic factors, feeding ecology and predation pressure. In the future, a loss of biodiversity and its effects are predicted to be greater for aquatic ecosystems than for terrestrial ecosystems [3]. The zooplankton is also a valuable food source for planktivorous fish and other organisms. The presence or absence of healthy zooplankton populations can determine some commercial fisheries success in both fresh and salt water bodies. By insuring that the lower parts of the food chain are healthy, we can protect the higher ordered organisms, like fish, whales and even humans.

Zooplankton has been used as an indicator for monitoring the water quality, trophic status and pollution level. Various ecological aspects of zooplankton have been a subject of study in India by several workers [4,5].The physico-chemical parameters and nutrient status of water body play an important role in governing the production of plankton which is the natural food of many species of fishes, especially zooplankton constitute important food source of many omnivorous and carnivorous fishes and also support the necessary amount of protein for the rapid growth of larval carps [6]. They respond quickly to aquatic environmental changes (e.g., water quality, such as pH, colour, odour and taste, etc.,) for their short life cycle, and are therefore used as indicators of overall health or condition of their habitats [7]. The qualitative and quantitative abundance of zooplankton in a lake are of great importance for successful aquaculture management, as they vary from one geographical location to another and lake to lake within the same geographical location even within similar ecological conditions [8]. In the present study, and attempt was made to study the freshwater zooplankton biodiversity in a perennial reservoir, Thoppaiyar, Dharmapuri District, South India were studied in seasonal wise on monthly basis of one year.

Materials and Methods

Study area

The plankton biodiversity in the Thoppaiyar reservoir, Dharmapuri District, (Latitude 11°57'21"N and Longitude 78°6'28"E) Tamil Nadu, South India was studied on monthly basis for a period of one year from December-2010 to November-2011 (Figure 1). The ayacut areas (5,330) of the reservoir comprises of the villages of Thoppur, Kammampatti in Dharmapuri district, Sekkarapatti, Vellar, Thettigiripatti and Mallikundam in Salem district, (Tamilnadu, South India) are benefitted.