Environmental correlates of plankton assemblages in a hypersaline lagoon (Lipar lagoon, northern Gulf of Oman)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean Oceanography Center (Chabahar), Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS), Chabahar, Iran

2 Department of Aquatic Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Hypersaline ecosystems provide excellent conditions for ecological studies of aquatic ecosystems. Lipar Lagoon is an understudied hypersaline lagoon located in southeasternmost Iran (northern Gulf of Oman). Knowledge about the biotic and abiotic characteristics of this hypersaline water system is limited. This research thus investigated the plankton community composition and abundance, and also its variability under variable environmental conditions over one year.
Material and methods:
Monthly (five replicates each month) water samplings were performed from 2017 to 2018, during pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon seasons. Physicochemical properties of water were measured at the site using a portable multi-meter, while other parameters such as silicate, nitrate, and phosphate were analyzed by spectrophotometry. For plankton identification and density measurements, each sample was fixed by adding 3ml of acidic Lugol’s solution, and transferred to the laboratory for further analysis.
Results and discussion:
The plankton community observed during the study period included Fabrea salina, Dunaliella salina, Pseudo-nitzschia sp., and Spirulina sp. Temporal variations in plankton abundance were evident, mostly in September and November, most of which occurred due to the difference in the abundance of D. salina and F. salina. The impact of environmental parameters including salinity and the concentration of dissolved oxygen, nitrite, silicate, and phosphate on the community structure of planktons was significant.
The combination of high salinity, high evaporation rate, low freshwater input, and consequently, low nutrient levels may be the main factors behind the low biodiversity in the lagoon. Being under pronounced anthropogenic pressure due to salt extraction activities, it is evident that further hydrobiological monitoring is crucial for the long-term preservation of the lagoon


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