Diversity and Abundance of Zooplankton in River Aswa in Uganda
Zooplankton community constitutes one of the keystone organisms that are crucial in understanding aquatic ecosystem responses to environmental distresses. The objective of this study was to contribute to the understanding of zooplankton ecological conservation status and assessment of potential impacts of the proposed Hydropower plant on the zooplankton community in River Aswa, Nwoya District, in Uganda. Baseline information on aquatic micro-invertebrate diversity, abundance and distribution along the affected river section was generated. Two copepods and four species of rotifers were recorded. The Intake site had the highest diversity (six species) while Powerhouse had
four species. Of the species encountered, Keratella tropica registered the highest abundance—1,025 and 732 individuals m-2 at the Powerhouse and Intake sites, respectively. Total zooplankton densities were comparable with Intake (2,773 individuals m-2) and Powerhouse (2,311 individuals m-2). The zooplankton taxa do not appear in the IUCN Red List in the Catalogue of Life. Therefore, the proposed construction of a hydropower plant may not pose zooplankton conservation problems.
Keywords: Biodiversity, Zooplankton, invertebrates, hydropower, River Aswa.
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