African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5232

Temporal and spatial variations of phytoplankton in the Caspian Sea

Ali Ganjian Khenari1, 2, 4*, Maryam Ghasemnejad4, Aabolghasem Roohi1, Reza Pourgholam1 Wan Maznah Wan Omar2, 3, Mashhor Mansor2, Babak Mirbagheri5 and Alireza Ghaedi2      
1Ecological Institute of the Caspian Sea, Sari, Iran. 2School of Biological Sciences, University Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia. 3Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS), University Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia. 4Caspian Research Group of Fisheries and Water Pollutants (CRFWP), Sari, Iran. 5RS&GIS Center, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid  Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 25 October 2011
  •  Published: 30 May 2012


Geographic information system (GIS) can be used to perform a number of fundamental spatial analysis operations. Its major advantage is that it allows the user to identify the spatial relationships between various map features. In this study, phytoplankton cell abundance, biomass and species composition were evaluated in the Iranian coasts of the Caspian Sea during 1996 to 1997 and 2005 to 2006. Totally 1562 water samples were collected in Southern part of Caspian Sea (SCS) for durations of 1996 to 1997 and 2005 to 2006. There were changes in the highest seasonal means of phytoplankton biomass. While maximum phytoplankton biomass were recorded in spring and summer during 1996 to 1997, after the invasion of Mnemiopsis leidyi shifted to a winter period and biomass shifted to winter-spring during 2005 to 2006. Maximum cell abundance was observed in 2005 to 2006, contributed mostly by small size of phytoplankton, although its population decreased in 1996 to 1997 while maximum biomass was observed in 1996 to 1997, belonged to big size of phytoplankton such as Rhizosolenia calcaravis. Its population aggregated at the depth of 0 to 20 m more than 87% of the total cell abundance, due to some favorable conditions such as higher water temperature, light, dissolved oxygen and nutrient concentration. Phytoplankton was vertically distributed until the depth of 20 m, and the population decreased at the lower depths.


Key words: Phytoplankton, seasonal variation, biomass, geographic information system (GIS) and Caspian Sea, Iran.