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International Journal of Biodiversity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 824543, 15 pages
Research Article

Temporal Succession of Phytoplankton Assemblages in a Tidal Creek System of the Sundarbans Mangroves: An Integrated Approach

1Integrative Taxonomy and Microbial Ecology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER-K), Mohanpur Campus, Nadia, Mohanpur-741252, West Bengal, India
2Ministry of Environment and Forests, Eastern Regional Office, Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar-751023, Odisha, India
3Sundarbans Programme and Climate Adaptation (Coastal Ecosystems), WWF-India, Jodhpur Park, Kolkata-700068, West Bengal, India

Received 9 April 2013; Accepted 19 May 2013

Academic Editor: Rafael Riosmena-Rodríguez

Copyright © 2013 Dola Bhattacharjee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, is unique and biologically diverse. A study was undertaken to track temporal succession of phytoplankton assemblages at the generic level (≥10 µm) encompassing 31 weeks of sampling (June 2010–May 2011) in Sundarbans based on microscopy and hydrological measurements. As part of this study, amplification and sequencing of type ID rbcL subunit of RuBisCO enzyme were also applied to infer chromophytic algal groups (≤10 µm size) from one of the study points. We report the presence of 43 genera of Bacillariophyta, in addition to other phytoplankton groups, based on microscopy. Phytoplankton cell abundance, which was highest in winter and spring, ranged between 300 and 27,500 cells/L during this study. Cell biovolume varied between winter of 2010 (90–35281.04 µm3) and spring-summer of 2011 (52–33962.24 µm3). Winter supported large chain forming diatoms, while spring supported small sized diatoms, followed by other algal groups in summer. The clone library approach showed dominance of Bacillariophyta-like sequences, in addition to Cryptophyta-, Haptophyta-, Pelagophyta-, and Eustigmatophyta-like sequences which were detected for the first time highlighting their importance in mangrove ecosystem. This study clearly shows that a combination of microscopy and molecular tools can improve understanding of phytoplankton assemblages in mangrove environments.