Relationships between abundance of zooplankton and physico-chemical parameters in lake Mweru-Wantipa, Zambia

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


This study was conducted in Lake Mweru-wantipa aimed at assessing abundance of zooplankton and its relationships with physico-chemical parameters. Four sampling stations were selected, two on each side of the Lake; the National Park and settlement. Five physico-chemical parameters including, temperature, turbidity, salinity, pH and dissolved oxygen were measured monthly using portable instruments concurrently with collection of duplet zooplankton samples at each sampling point at depths between 0.1m and 0.5m. All physico-chemical parameters were significantly different between the two sites (p<0.05) with the exception of temperature and pH. A total of 13 genera of zooplankton were identified belonging to four groups namely; rotifers, cladoceran, copepods and ostracods. The cladoceran had the highest number of species (6) followed by copepods (4) in both sides. However, the copepods had the largest contribution in terms of abundance in both sides. The diversity H’ was high in settlement areas but the National park had higher species richness. There was significant difference in species diversity between the two sites (t=3.96; p=0.001).The most abundant group was the cyclopoid in both sides of the lake followed by the Moina on the settlement site and the daphnia sp on the National park site. The densities of Molina, Simocephalus, Ceriodaphinia and Cypris were significantly different between the two sites (p<0.05). With the exception of copepods all groups were significantly different between the two sites (p<0.05). Generally, the total zooplankton density was not significantly different between the two sites (t=0.73; p=0.06).The results showed that the zooplankton abundance was clearly influenced by turbidity in settlement areas and pH in National park areas. Agroforestry practices should be promoted in the lake’s catchment area in order to reduce sedimentation in the lake and on land deforestation.



physico-chemical parameters, zooplankton, turbidity, salinity, copepods