Original paper

Application of phytoplankton communities for monitoring water quality in the Hangzhou section of Jing-Hang Grand Canal, southern China

Shi, Xinlu; Liu, Xiaojiang; Liu, Guili; Sun, Zhiqiang; Xu, Henglong


Spatial patterns of phytoplankton communities and relationships with water quality status were studied in the Hangzhou section of Jing-Hang Cannel, northern China during a 1-year cycle (February 2008-January 2009). Samples were collected monthly at six sampling stations within a contamination gradient. Physico-chemical variables, such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD5), total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen, were measured synchronously for comparison with biotic parameters. The phytoplankton communities showed a clear spatial pattern in response to the changes in environmental parameters, especially COD, TN and TP. Phytoplankton-based saprobien indices may reflect the spatial variation in water quality status (from β- to α-mesosaprobic zone) in the canal system. However, species diversity, richness and evenness failed to discriminate between different levels of water quality status although these parameters are often used to summarize community relationships with environmental conditions. These results suggest that phytoplankton communities, but not diversity indices, can be used as a potential bioindicator of water quality in freshwater river systems.


bioassessmentenvironmental stressgrand canalphytoplanktonriver ecosystem