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University of Namibia (2017)

Abundance and diversity of microalgae in freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia and optimization of lipid and biomass production in Nannochloropsis Limnetica

Garus-Oas, Carol H.

Titre : Abundance and diversity of microalgae in freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia and optimization of lipid and biomass production in Nannochloropsis Limnetica

Auteur : Garus-Oas, Carol H.

Université de soutenance : University of Namibia

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Science (Biology) 2017

Résumé partiel
Namibia is one of the driest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and man-made dams play an important role on salvaging water. These dams are however periodically frequented by microalgae blooms that pose devastating effects on the water quality, making water treatment processes troublesome and cost prohibitive. However, these unicellular organisms can be exploited in various ways especially when cultivated in controlled and closed systems under optimal conditions of light, temperature, pH and nutrient concentrations. Biomass can be optimized to produce proteins that can be a source of fertilizers, while lipids can be extracted to refine into various hydrocarbons such as biodiesel and bioethanol. It is therefore essential to study the dynamics of these microalgae and provide necessary guidelines on how to utilize them. The first objective of the current study was to assess the seasonal relative genera abundance, diversity, richness and eveness of microalgae in three fresh water eutrophic systems in central Namibia. The hypothesis was to seek whether there is no significant difference in the seasonal relative genera abundance of microalgae per dam in three freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia namely, Goreangab dam, Von Bach dam and Swakoppoort dam. Microalgae were enumerated with the use of a haemocytometer and identified to genus level during the dry and the wet seasons. Environmental parameters such as turbidity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, macronutrients (i.e. phosphates, nitrates and ammonia) and dam water volumes, were also measured during this time to assess how they are correlated to the relative genera abundance per dam. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS software package (IBM statistics Version 23) and differences in data were considered significant at p < 0.05. The Shannon-Weiner diversity index was applied to calculate the microalgae diversity per dam. Evenness Index (J’) and Margalef’s Index (d) was used to calculate the species evenness and species richness, respectively per dam. Results revealed that seasonal relative genera abundance was not normally distributed (p = 0.000) per dam. Von Bach dam seasonal relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 1.000). Goreangab dam seasonal relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 0.652) and Swakoppoort dam relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 0.444). Data presentation of relative genera abundance showed Chlorophyceae as the most dominant class followed by Cyanophycea for Swakoppoort and Von Bach dams for both seasons. Chlorophyceae was the most abundant microalgae class in Goreangab dam during the dry season, while Florideophyceae and Cyanophycea were the second most abundant classes during the wet season. Microcystis was the most abundant genus for Swakoppoort and Goreangab dams during dry and wet seasons. However, in Von Bach dam Aulacoseira was the most abundant microalgae. The Shannon-Weiner diversity index showed that Von Bach dam had the highest diversity of 3.21 followed by Goreangab dam (2.32) and the lowest diversity was found in Swakoppoort dam (2.13). Species evenness varied between 0.46 - 0.65 for Swakoppoort and Goreangab dams, but was higher for Von Bach dam (0.72 - 0.97). Species richness calculated with the Margaleff’s index was around 1 for all the dams and throughout all the seasons, except for Swakoppoort dam during the dry season where it was 1.5. According to the statistical analysis performed, all of the environmental parameters measured for all the dams during the dry and wet seasons were not normally distributed (p = 0.000). Correlation tests showed that all the environmental parameters captured during the time for all the dams were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). According to the literature review, the higher relative abundance of the class Chlorophycea observed during the time of sampling for the current study was due to their higher growth rates. The higher relative abundance of the genera Microcystis was due to their physiological advantage (i.e. nitrogen fixing, surface to volume ratios, intracellular gas vesicles for buoyancy and slimy undulation to enable photomovement) over other microalgae identified during the time of sampling. Microcystis was prominent mostly in Goreangab dam which was characterized by optimum combination of environmental factors such temperature, pH levels and high macronutrients when compared to the other dams. The current study recommends assessment of microalgae diversity and abundance over a one year period with sampling at least every second week.

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