Phytoplankton Community of Elechi Creek, Niger Delta, Nigeria-A Nutrient-Polluted Tropical Creek
O. A. Davies, J. F.N. Abowei and C. C. Tawari
DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2009.1143.1152
American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 6, Issue 6
Problem statement: Elechi Creek of the Upper Bonny Estuary in the Niger Delta contributes to the Rivers State Fish resources. It is a sink receiving organic anthropogenic wastes from Diobu, Eagle Island and waterfront dwellers of Diobu areas. Fishing, car washing, bathing, swimming and other human activities are constantly going on within and around this creek. Based on these activities, there is urgent need to study the phytoplankton community that supports its fisheries. Approach: The study investigated the phytoplankton composition, diversity, abundance and distribution as well as surface water physico-chemical parameters. Phytoplankton and surface water samples were collected bi-monthly from October 2007-March 2008 at high tide from five stations according to APHA methods. These were analyzed for temperature, transparency, dissolved oxygen, salinity, alkalinity, chloride and nutrients. Phytoplankton was identified microscopically. Species diversity was calculated using standard indices. Results: A total of 169 species of phytoplankton, based on cell counts, was dominated by diatoms, 33255 counts mL-1 (36%) and blue-green algae, 32909 counts mL-1 (35.7%) were identified. The abundance of phytoplankton decreased downstream of this creek (1>2>3>4) except in station 5 with the highest phytoplankton abundance (23938 counts mL-1). There was slight fluctuation in the measured physico-chemical parameters. The results of this study indicated the characteristic species and distribution of phytoplankton in Elechi Creek during the dry months. Conclusion/Recommendation: The high level of phosphate above the permissive limit showed that this creek is hypereutrophic and organic polluted. The high nutrients status favors the high abundance of phytoplankton. The municipal effluents (especially raw human and animal faces) discharges must be discontinued. Detergents with low concentration of phosphate are recommended for manufacturing and use. Municipal wastes must be treated and/or recycled before discharge into this natural aquatic body. Therefore, a continuous environmental surveillance of this creek is advocated to keep its biological integrity.
© 2009 O. A. Davies, J. F.N. Abowei and C. C. Tawari. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.