Phytoplankton of Aras dam reservoir (Iran): an attempt to assess water quality


1 Botany Department of Faculty of Biosciences, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C. Tehran, Iran.

2 Faculty of Biosciences, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C. Tehran, Iran


The Aras reservoir, located in the north-west of Iran, plays an important role in fisheries, drinking and agricultural water supplies and recreational activities in the region. This study was performed to characterize the seasonal fluctuations of phytoplankton communities and their relationship with environmental factors in the Aras reservoir from August 2013 to May 2014. Sampling was carried out seasonally from 5 sampling locations. In each location three samples were taken for phytoplankton identification and enumeration, chemical analysis and chlorophyll a determination. In total, 72 species belonging to 5 divisions were determined. Cyanobacteria contained the highest density (74%) during the study period with Pseudanabaena limnetica as the most abundant species. This group retained its dominance the whole year round which indicated the poor quality and high nutrient load of the Aras reservoir, mainly due to human activities. On average, Trophic State Index (TSI) showed that water in the reservoir was eu-hypereutrophic. The results indicated that phytoplankton density negatively correlated with Secchi disc depth (R2 = -0.479), total alkalinity (R2 = -0.564), total hardness (R2 = -0.727) and HCO3 concentration (R2 = -0.589). On the other hand, there was a positive correlation between the phytoplankton density and TP (R2 = 0.734). A comparison between the present and a previous study indicated that the cyanobacterial bloom pattern in the Aras reservoir has shifted from warm season toward an all year round cycle which in addition to basin pollution due to anthropogenic activities, can be related to global warming and climate change.