Analysis of changeability of the structural and functional phytoplankton characteristic in the lower and delta of Danube River within the Ukraine borders

A. Vasenko, A. Vernichenko, D. Vernichenko-Tsvetkov, M. Lungu, A. Milanich, A. Pristinska


Introduction. The flow of water Danube River in the Black Sea has a significant impact on the level of anthropogenic eutrophication of the North-Western its part. Relevance of this problem and importance of information about the state of the river ecosystem are recognized internationally. According to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), to objectively assess the «health» of the river required an analysis of all the major components of the ecosystem, including phytoplankton.

Purpose. The aim of the present study was to analyze the indicators of phytoplankton Ukrainian part of the Danube and its delta and identify the factors that determine their spatial and temporal variability in the current environmental conditions.

Methods. Sampling of water and phytoplankton was carried out seasonally from 2007 to 2011 in stationary points of the observation. Hydrochemical and hydrobiological analyzes was performed according to conventional methods. Indicators of the pigments of phytoplankton were analyzed by standard spectrophotometric method. The index of species diversity Menhinika was calculated, as well as the trophic level and the class of water quality (with the help of various classifications) was determined.

Results. The studies have shown a high species diversity of phytoplankton in Danube and its delta. The greatest diversity of species characterized by the diatomic algae  In addition to representatives of Bacillariophyta in phytoplankton were well represented species of Chlorophyta and Cyanophyta, much less species of Euglenophyta and Xanthophyta. It was found, that both structural and functional characteristics of phytoplankton these water bodies differ significant spatial and temporal variability. However, the average annual values of the indicators are quite close, indicating a certain stability of the studied ecosystems. Phytoplankton abundance during the study period ranged from 0,109 to 98,290 × 106 cells. / dm3, biomass − from 0,067 to 16,490 mg / dm3, the concentration of chlorophyll «a» ranged from 1,866 to 45,608 μg / dm3. The average values of these indicators were, respectively, 12,63 × 106 cells / dm3, 2,99 mg / dm 3 and 11,2 μg / dm3. The maximum value of the quantitative content of phytoplankton in the investigated waters is connected, as a rule, with the intensive development of small-cell blue-green algae. .Direct positive reliable correlation between biomass of phytoplankton and the concentration of chlorophyll «a» was observed. In descending order of the coefficient of variation of phytoplankton indicators can be located as follows: abundance (N); biomass (B); chlorophyll «a» (Chl «а»); (B / N) and (Chl «a» / В). The main factors determining the qualitative composition and quantitative development of phytoplankton are water temperature, water regime, the content of suspended and toxic substances.

Originality. Although the investigations of phytoplankton of Danube River have a long history, data on phytoplankton of Danube Delta is rather limited. At the same time they are needed for a better understanding on functioning of specific natural formations − ecotonts and their response to pollution, eutrophication and global climate change. New data have been obtained about the qualitative composition and quantitative development of phytoplankton Lower Danube and its delta in modern ecological conditions and on their basis where determined trophic status of studied water bodies.

Conclusion. On the basis of the research concluded that the water of Lower Danube and its delta in Ukraine are classified as eutrophic waters. A content analysis of chlorophyll «a» in a unit volume of water can be considered as one of the most perspective methods of bioindikation ecological status of studied water bodies.


Lower Danube and its delta; phytoplankton; structural and functional indicators; ecological status


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