African Journal of Ecology and Ecosystems Vol.  1 (3) pp. 053-059, December, 2014. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

The Environment of macrozoobenthos in Shallabugh wetland of Kashmir Himalaya, India

*Salman Rukh Chopra, Rabindranath E. Shahid and Priyanka Kareena

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India.

E-mail: dr.salmanrukh@gmail.com 

Accepted 28 November, 2014

Abstract 

Macrozoobenthos comprise of an important group of aquafauna by way of their contribution to ecosystem stability, besides acting as potential bioindicators of trophic status. Being efficient energy converters, they constitute an important link in the aquatic food web. In view of importance of such an aquatic bioresource, on one hand, and scarcity of information about them, on the other, the present study aimed at working out the species composition, distribution pattern and abundance of macrozoobenthos in relation to several physico-chemical parameters of the Shallabugh wetland of Kashmir Himalaya. The data collected on various physico-chemical parameters showed wide seasonal and site-specific fluctuations. Dissolved oxygen concentration fluctuated between 3 - 12 mg/l, while as free CO2 ranged from 1 - 19 mg/l showing also high values of bicarbonates of Ca and Mg, nitrogen and total phosphorus. The pH of the wetland remained mostly alkaline but at the emergent macrophytic site it showed a slight acidic trend (6.6) in during late summer. Benthos of the Shallabugh wetland was represented by Arthopoda, Annelida and Mollusca, and was studied in relation to abiotic and biotic factors for one year. Perusal of the results revealed that Arthropoda, Annelida and Mollusca were represented by 10, 7 and 6 species respectively. The abundance of some specific pollution indicator species, especially Annelids such as Limnodrilus sp, Tubifex tubifex and Branchiura sowerbyii, is depictive of transition in trophic status of the wetland from meso- to eutrophy. In view of the eutrophication-induced changing biotic community structure, the present study calls for urgent management and restoration of the Shallabugh wetland ecosystem.

Key words: Shallabugh wetland, organic matter, eutrophication, macrozoobenthos.