A Checklist of Planktonic Algae off Lagos Coast - Jsrd.org

A Checklist of Planktonic Algae off Lagos Coast - Jsrd.org

A Checklist of Planktonic Algae off Lagos Coast - Jsrd.org


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Journal Sci. Res. Dev., 2003, Vol. 9, 75 -82<br />

A <strong>Checklist</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Planktonic</strong> <strong>Algae</strong> <strong>of</strong>f <strong>Lagos</strong> <strong>Coast</strong><br />

D. I. Nwankwo. and I.C. Onyema<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Marine Sciences, University <strong>of</strong> <strong>Lagos</strong>,<br />

Akoka ‐ Yaba, <strong>Lagos</strong>, Nigeria.<br />


The planktonic algae <strong>of</strong>f the <strong>Lagos</strong> coast was investigated for 2 years between November, 1980 and<br />

October, 1982. Sixty‐three species belonging to twenty‐nine genera were recorded. Diatoms<br />

constituted the most abundant group making up fifty‐three species (84.13%) from twenty‐three<br />

genera. The din<strong>of</strong>lagellates recorded six species (9.52%) from a single genus and the<br />

cyanobacteria, four species (6.35%) from three genera. Higher phytoplankton diversity and cell counts<br />

were recorded in the dry season (November ‐ April) than in the wet season (May ‐October).<br />

Coscinodiscus, Chaetocerus and Biddulphia (diatoms) and Ceratium (din<strong>of</strong>lagellate) were more<br />

frequently occurring species. Most <strong>of</strong> the species encountered in this study have been documented for<br />

the <strong>Lagos</strong> lagoon.<br />

Keywords: <strong>Checklist</strong>, plankton, algae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, din<strong>of</strong>lagellates<br />


According to Nwankwo et al., (2003 a) in the last SOyears or so, there has been an increasing interest in<br />

phytoplankton studies in Nigeria. <strong>Checklist</strong>s <strong>of</strong> planktonic algae in some parts <strong>of</strong> Nigeria have been<br />

documented by different workers over this period. For instance, Mills (1932) reported on the diatoms <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Warri River while Fox (1957) documented a first list <strong>of</strong> the Marine algae from Nigeria and Hendey (1958)<br />

worked on the marine algae from different parts <strong>of</strong> West Africa with <strong>Lagos</strong> and Port ‐Harcourt as key<br />

study points. Holden and Green (1960) also investigated the hydrology and the plankton <strong>of</strong> the Sokoto<br />

River, while Imevbore (1965) presented a checklist <strong>of</strong> the phytoplankton species for the Eleiyele reservoir in<br />

Ibadan and a similar list was documented for the Oshun River by Egb<strong>org</strong>e (1973).<br />


76 D. I. Nwankwo. and I. C. Onyema<br />

More recently Nwadiaro and Ezefili (1986) listed the phytoplankton <strong>of</strong> New Calabar River while Opute<br />

(1991) presented a checklist <strong>of</strong> the phytoplankton flora <strong>of</strong> the Warri / Forcados estuary. Nwankwo<br />

(1988a) has also presented a checklist <strong>of</strong> the Nigerian marine macroalgae from Tarkwa bay West mole<br />

whereas Nwankwo (1988b) complied a list <strong>of</strong> the planktonic algae <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lagos</strong> Lagoon.<br />

Additionally, a checklist <strong>of</strong> algae in the plankton from the Bonny River have received attention by Chindah<br />

and Pudo (1991) and Kadiri (1999) also presented a list and distribution <strong>of</strong> phytoplankton in some coastal<br />

waters <strong>of</strong> Nigeria with <strong>Lagos</strong>, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states as key sampling points for the<br />

survey. Further to this, Nwankwo et al., (2003a) also published an additional list to the already<br />

existing checklist for the <strong>Lagos</strong> Lagoon (Nwankwo, 1988b) after ISyears <strong>of</strong> additional phycological<br />

investigations in the region.<br />

Presently there is no published work on a checklist <strong>of</strong> phytoplankton species found in the sea <strong>of</strong>f the<br />

<strong>Lagos</strong> coast. The knowledge <strong>of</strong> these species and their role as foundational aquatic food chain <strong>org</strong>anism<br />

in the marine ecosystem particularly in the neritic waters <strong>of</strong>f <strong>Lagos</strong> cannot be understated. The<br />

aim <strong>of</strong> this project was to investigate the phytoplankton assemblage <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Lagos</strong> coast and hence<br />

document a checklist <strong>of</strong> encountered species.<br />


The coastline <strong>of</strong> Nigeria boarders 853km <strong>of</strong> the Atlantic Ocean and is interrupted by a series <strong>of</strong><br />

estuarine entries to the sea. The coastal area <strong>of</strong> South‐western Nigeria, more specifically, is a<br />

meandering network <strong>of</strong> lagoons that angle approximately 45° to the prevailing south‐westerlies wind<br />

and parallel to the coastline (Hill and Webb, 1958; Webb, 1958; Ibe, 1988; Nwankwo, 2004b) (Figure<br />

1). Rainfall in this area though concentrated in one season is bimodal with peaks in June and<br />

September/October. This area is influenced by the semi‐diurnal tidal regime experienced along<br />

the entire West African coastal region (Webb, 1958; FAO, 1969; Olaniyan, 1969).<br />

The dominant ocean currents operating within the area include the Benguella, Guinea, Equatorial, and<br />

the Equatorial counter currents. High energy waves are generated within this region that<br />

continually pound the <strong>Lagos</strong> shoreline at an angle.

A <strong>Checklist</strong> <strong>of</strong><strong>Planktonic</strong> <strong>Algae</strong> <strong>of</strong>f <strong>Lagos</strong> <strong>Coast</strong><br />


Phytoplankton sample collection<br />

Phytoplankton samples for the two years <strong>of</strong> study were collected with the aid <strong>of</strong> a 55/j.m standard<br />

plankton net and the training vessel, 'Federal Argonaut'. The vessel is about 200m long and has an<br />

engine capacity <strong>of</strong> 425 hp and collections were made between latitudes 3°27'E and 3° 29'S and longitudes<br />

6° 17' Nand 16° 24^N for the study. On each occasion the net was tied to the vessel and towed at low<br />

speed (< 4knots) for Smins. All samples were collected in 250ml plastic containers with screw caps and<br />

preserved in 4% unbuffered formalin prior to biological analysis.<br />

Figure 1: Hydrological map <strong>of</strong> <strong>Lagos</strong> showing study area<br />

Phytoplankton analysis<br />

In the laboratory one drop, five different times for each sample after concentration to lOmls were<br />

investigated at different magnification (X15, X100 and X400) using a Zeiss binocular microscope with a<br />

calibrated eye piece. The microtransect drop count method described by Lackey (1938) and employed by<br />

Nwankwo (1984) was used. Since each drop is O.lml, results on abundance were multiplied by 10 to<br />

give the values as numbers <strong>of</strong> <strong>org</strong>anisms per ml. Appropriate texts were used to aid identification<br />

(Subramanyan, 1946; Smith, 1950; Hendey, 1958,1964; Desikachary, 1959; Foged, 1966; Wimpenny,<br />

1966; Patrick and Reimer, 1966, 1975; Nwankwo, 1990, 2004a). To<br />


78 D. I. Nwankwo. andl.C. Onyema<br />

enhance diatom identification, sub‐samples <strong>of</strong> the original samples were acid cleaned using a<br />

mixture <strong>of</strong> H2SO4 and HNO3 acids.<br />


For the two year survey a total <strong>of</strong> sixty‐six species <strong>of</strong> phytoplankton were recorded. The diatoms were<br />

the most prominent group with a total <strong>of</strong> fifty‐three species (84.15%) from twenty‐three genera.<br />

Frequently occurring genera include Coscinodiscus (12 taxa), Chaetocerus (8 taxa), Biddulphia (6<br />

taxa) and Grammatophora (3 taxa). The din<strong>of</strong>lagellate were the second more prominent group<br />

with a total <strong>of</strong> six species (9.52%) from a sole genus (Ceratium). The cyanobactena recorded four<br />

species (6.35%) from three genera. Oscillatoria, Phormidium and Trichodesmium were the genera<br />

encountered.<br />

Table 1: A <strong>Checklist</strong> <strong>of</strong>planktonic algae <strong>of</strong>f the coast <strong>of</strong> <strong>Lagos</strong>.<br />

Bacillariophyceae<br />

Actinophycus splendens (Schadbolt) Ralfs<br />

Asterionella gracialis Cleve & Muller Bacillaria<br />

paxillifer (O. F. Muller) Hendey Biddulphia<br />

aurita (Lyngbe) Brebission Biddulphia<br />

longricruris Greville Biddulphia mobilense<br />

(Bailey) Grunow Biddulphia regia Schultze<br />

Biddulphia rhombus (Ehrenberg) Wm Smith<br />

Biddulphia sinensis Greville Cerataulina<br />

bergoni (Cleve) Hendey Chaetoceros<br />

atlanticum Cleve Chaetoceros coarctatum<br />

Lauder Chaetoceros decipens Cleve<br />

Chaetoceros densum Cleve Chaetoceros<br />

didymus Ehrenberg Chaetoceros diversum<br />

Cleve Chaetoceros laciniosum Shurt<br />

Chaetoceros peruvianum Brightwelli<br />

Corethron criphilum Castracane Coscinodiscus<br />

asteromphalus Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus<br />

centralis Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus eccentricus<br />


A <strong>Checklist</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Planktonic</strong> <strong>Algae</strong> <strong>of</strong>f <strong>Lagos</strong> <strong>Coast</strong><br />

Coscinodiscus gigas Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus<br />

granni Gough Coscinodiscus janischii A. Schmidt<br />

Coscinodiscus jonesianus (Greville) Ostenfeld<br />

Coscinodiscus lineatus Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus<br />

marginatus Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus oculus‐<br />

iridis Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus radiatus<br />

Ehrenberg Coscinodiscus stellaris Ehrenberg<br />

Detonula schroderi P. Bergon Ditylum<br />

brightwelli (West) Grunow Donkinia sp<br />

Eucampia cornuta Ehrenberg Grammatophora<br />

marina (Lyngbye) Kutzing Grammatophora<br />

sourieri Amosse Grammatophora sp<br />

Gyrosigma wansbeckii (Donkin) Cleve<br />

Hyalodiscus stelliger Bailey Hyalodiscus sp<br />

Hemidiscus harmannianus (Greville) Mann<br />

Thallassionema longissima (Grunow)<br />

Cyanophyceae<br />

Oscillatoria margatifera (Kutzing) Gomont<br />

Oscillatoria nigro‐viridis Thwaites Phormidium<br />

fragile (Meneghini) Gomont Trichodesmium<br />

thiebautii Gomont<br />

Dinophyceae<br />

Ceratium furca Ehrenberg Ceratium<br />

fusus Ehrenberg Ceratium<br />

macroceros Ehrenberg Ceratium<br />

massilense Ehrenberg Ceratium<br />

pulchellum K<strong>of</strong>oid Ceratium tripos<br />

(O.F.M.) Nitzsch<br />


80 D. I. Nwankwo. andl.C. Onyema<br />


From the study there were comparatively fewer numbers <strong>of</strong> species for this study viz a viz other<br />

seasonal microalgal investigations in the coastal waters <strong>of</strong> Nigeria (Nwankwo, 1988b; Nwankwo et al.,<br />

2003, Onyema et al., 2003). Comparatively, higher abundance and diversity <strong>of</strong> planktonic algal species<br />

was recorded for the dry season (November ‐ April) than in the wet season (May ‐October). For<br />

instance species <strong>of</strong>Coscinodiscus, Chaetocerus, Biddulphia, Ditylum and Ceratium occurred more<br />

frequently in the dry season. A good number <strong>of</strong> the species encountered for this study have been<br />

recorded in marine situations elsewhere (Subramanyan, 1946, Newell and Newell, 1966; Wimmpenny,<br />

1966).<br />

Furthermore, the occurrence <strong>of</strong> din<strong>of</strong>lagellates species such as Ceratium furca, Ceratium fusus,<br />

Ceratium tripos and diatoms such as Chaetoceros convolutus, Cerataulina bergonii and<br />

Coscinodiscus centralis among other diatoms have also been reported to impose anoxia, clogging and<br />

damage <strong>of</strong> fish gills under bloom conditions in the same region (Nwankwo et al., 2003 a,b).<br />

The occurrence <strong>of</strong> the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium thiebautii was observed only in warm,<br />

stratified, relatively nutrient poor waters in the dry season. Nwankwo et al., (2003b) have reported that<br />

Trichodesmium thiebautii blooms in the coastal waters <strong>of</strong> south‐western Nigeria and clogging <strong>of</strong> fishing<br />

nets in bloom conditions have also been reported in the same region for this cyanobacterium<br />

Species <strong>of</strong> Oscillatoria and Phormidium encountered during the study are likely immigrant forms from<br />

land brought in with floodwaters during the rains.<br />


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