, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 716–727 | Cite as

Phytoplankton community composition and size distribution in the Langat River estuary, Malaysia

  • Majbritt Fischer Lassen
  • Mette Elisabeth Bramm
  • Katherine Richardson
  • Fatimah Yusoff
  • Muhamed Shariff


Phytoplankton patchiness, as expressed by community composition and size distribution, during the rainy season in the Langat River estuary (Malaysia) is described. Four sites in the estuary were sampled on two different occasions. The sampling area covered a stretch of the river from upstream to downstream of aquaculture activities (shrimp farms). Water samples from a shrimp farm outlet were also analyzed for nutrient and phytoplankton content. Differences in community structure between stations were found by means of multivariate procedures. Genera composition and total biomass were related to environmental factors, revealing salinity, light, and nutrients as important explaining factors. Elevated phytoplankton biomass and total phosphorus concentration, as well as lower inorganic nitrogen: phosphorus ratios, were found downstream of the shrimp farming activities. The size distribution spectrum of the phytoplankton population downstream of the shrimp farms was significantly different from that at the other stations but not different than that found in the sampled effluent from the shrimp farms, where phytoplankton biomass was also high. Twenty-two of the 24 recorded genera from the shrimp farm outlet were also found downstream of the farming activities. A number of different environmental factors potentially alter conditions for phytoplankton in the lower reaches of the estuary as compared to the upper regions. A cause and effect relationship explaining the differences noted between the upper and lower reaches of the estuary cannot be established. This study suggests that nutrient enrichment from the shrimp farming activities is of a magnitude that may contribute to the phytoplankton community changes observed in the lower reaches of the estuary.


Phytoplankton Malaysia Phytoplankton Biomass Phytoplankton Community Total Phosphorous 


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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Majbritt Fischer Lassen
    • 1
  • Mette Elisabeth Bramm
    • 1
  • Katherine Richardson
    • 1
  • Fatimah Yusoff
    • 2
  • Muhamed Shariff
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine Ecology, Institute of Biological ScienceUniversity of AarhusArhus NDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Environmental StudiesUniversiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)Malaysia
  3. 3.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)Malaysia

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