Research Report

A Study of Occurrence of Planktons from Balochistan Waters  

Shazia Rasheed , Shazia Rasheed , Azra Bano , Mohammad Rashid , Abdul Latif
Department of Marine Sciences, Lasbela University of Agriculture, Waters and Marine Sciences, Uthal, Balochistan, Pakistan
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2019, Vol. 9, No. 5   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2019.09.0005
Received: 12 Jul., 2019    Accepted: 28 Aug., 2019    Published: 14 Oct., 2019
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Rasheed S., Bano A., Rashid M., and Latif A., 2019, A study of occurrence of planktons from Balochistan Waters, International Journal of Marine Science, 9(5): 45-48 (doi:10.5376/ijms.2019.09.0005)


This paper deals preliminary study of plankton in Sonmiani, Balochistan waters. Copepods were the highest dominant group, about 23.68 % of total catch. Next highly occurring groups were Ceratium spp. (dinoflagellates) and eggs were about 20.36 % of each. Diatoms found only 2% while chaetoganatha and jelly fish were found markedly very low in percentage (0.69%) during present investigations. According to Simpson diversity index site 1 was less in richness and site 3 was much higher in richness.

Plankton; Diatom; Ceratium; Balochistan

1 Introduction

Plankton is various small drifting plants, animals and microorganism that inhabit bodies of water. Plankton drives the “biological pump”, processes by which the ocean ecosystem transports carbon from the surface to the ocean’s depths. 


Coast of Baluchistan located on northern Arabian Sea comprising 70% shoreline, out of total coast of Pakistan. Sonmiani Beach is located in the Lasbela District of the Balochistan state of Pakistan. It is located in Sonmiani Bay. Planktons are diverse group of organisms that live in the water column and are incapable of swimming against water currents. Life in the water and specially in the sea has been broadly classified into three groups, viz., the plankton, the nekton and the benthos, which are floating, swimming and creeping organisms respectively. 


Among the all aquatic fauna and flora, planktons are one of the unique creatures. Victor Henson coined the term plankton in 1887 (Santhanam and srinivasan, 1994). Based on the nutrition, the plankton divided into plant plankton or Phytoplankton and animal plankton or zooplankton. In regard to the duration of planktonic life, the zooplankton may be grouped in holoplankton and meroplankton. The holoplankton comprise organisms which are planktonic throughout their life cycle while merplankton are remain planktonic only for a portion of their lifecycle (eggs and larvae of the aquatic animals).


Photosynthesis by the phytoplankton accounts for up to half of global primary production. They also provide the primary food source for the zooplankton, and together form the base of the oceanic food chain. Larger zooplankton, fish, and mammals depend on this plankton for their survival. Tying it all together, the bacterioplankton play an important role in the recycling and remineralization of materials and energy within the food chain.


Simpson's Diversity Index is a measure of diversity. In ecology, it is often used to quantify the biodiversity of a habitat. It considers the number of species present, as well as the abundance of each species.


Several papers have been published worldwide, focusing different mode of studies for understanding the taxonomy, biology, diversity, migration, ecology etc. of plankton. Ahlstrom et al., (1976) described the eggs and larvae of fishes and their role in systematic investigations in fisheries. Barnett and Beisner (2007), Barnett et al. (2007) explained the Zooplankton biodiversity and primary productivity relationship. In Pakistani waters, planktons were reported by Quddusi and Sultana (2008). From Balochistan no works have been done so far about the any aspect of planktons. The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of plankton in Balochistan waters. Therefore, present study is undertaken which will provide the knowledge regarding plankton in balochistan waters. 


2 Materials and Methods

The planktons for this paper were collected from site of Somiani, Baluchistan. The site is located between 25◦ 25ˊ 22̎ North latitudes, 6635ˊ 44̎ East longitude. The plankton samples were collected randomly with the help of plankton net on the boat from three sites of shore. All sampling site were assigned a particular name i.e. 1. near the coast. 2. Near the mangroves area and 3. away from the coast. All specimens were preserving in 4% formaldehyde solution and keep in laboratory for their morphological studies. Morphological studies were carried out for each individual under the micropscope. Species were identified by the help of the following literatures: Gosner (1971), Santhanam and Srinivasan (1994) and Lalli and Parsons (1999). Planktons samples were grouped into nine namely; diatoms, dinoflagellates, copepod, lucifer, chaetognaths, Jellyfish, eggs, zoea larvae and last unidentified group “Others”. All identified sample were counted and further statistical analysis were conducted. Diversity index were calculated by Simpson diversity index equation as: 

D= Diversity Index

n = the total number of organisms of a particular species
N = the total number of organisms of all species


3 Result

58 specimens of zooplankton were collected from station 1, only six groups were present in this site. Figure 1 showed that Ceratium spp. were found in the highest percentage (38 %), while second highest group was copepods in 21% of total catch. A next dominant group was Eggs which was about 17%. Diatoms were found markedly very low in only 4 %. Zoea larvae, Chaetognatha and Jelly fish were not found from this site. Diversity index (D) of sample 1is D= 0.225. 



Figure 1 Percentage occurrence of planktons from station 1


From site 2 which was the near of the mangrove’s areas, total 50 plankton samples from 7 groups were collected (Figure 2). Two groups (Chaetoganatha and Jelly fish) were also totally absent from this site. 28% of copepods were found in the highest percentage of occurrence. Second highest occurring group was eggs which were about 26 % then Lucifer found in 16%. Only 2 % of diatoms were found. Diversity index (D) of sample 2 is D= 0.184.



Figure 2 Percentage occurrence of planktons from station 2


Out of 152 samples of planktons, 48 were collected from site 3 which was away from shore. Diatoms was absent from this site and other all eight groups were present (Figure 3). Copepods were found in highest percentage which is about 23% of total catch of this site. Meroplankton (Eggs and Zoea larvae) were found in same ratio which is 18 %.  Diversity index (D) of sample 3 is D= 0.144. 



Figure 3 Percentage occurrence of planktons from station 3


4 Discussion

Identification of plankton, yet not carried out from Baluchistan. Numerous studies have shown a strong relationship between larval fish survival and the timing and production of their food (i.e., plankton). Barnett and Beisner (2007) explained the timing and production of plankton are in turn directly dependent on water temperature and nutrient availability (which is indirectly controlled by temperature-driven circulation patterns). Changes in climate can affect the timing of the seasonal plankton blooms, with effects that pass up the food chain. Longer term changes in climate may even change the plankton species composition, changing the feeding environment of the larval fish. This may be concluded that plankton of Balochistan is diversifying.


In present investigation diatoms belonging to Phytoplankton and remaining group except “others” are zooplankton. Eggs and Zoea larvae are also called Meroplankton. In case of occurrence of plankton, results of present investigation show that copepods were the dominant group from all three sites about 24 % of total catch. Than Ceratium spp. and eggs were dominant about 20% of each. Diatom which are phytoplankton, were found in very low quantity i.e. 1.9 % of total catch during preset study. Chaetognath and jelly fish were also rare only one specimen was collected from station 3. The diversity of plankton from site three was relatively high as compare to other sites. Zooplanktons were abundant here but phytoplankton is not found.


This study aimed to approach it in Balochistan for first time to initiate the term of study for occurrence of plankton along the coast of Baluchistan. Coast of Baluchistan located on northern Arabian sea comprising 70% shoreline, out of total coast of Pakistan. Thus, there is an urgent need to examine the diversity of plankton inhabiting in Balochistan waters to understand the impact of plankton for future conservation and management. Moreover, the taxonomical determination is the first step of this study.


Author’s contributions

SR designed, conducted the experiments and writes the manuscript. AB, MR and AL collected the samples and identify and count the samples. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. 



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