The influence of physical-chemical variables on the spatial and seasonal variation of Chlorophyll-a in coastal waters of Unguja, Zanzibar, Tanzania

  • Nyamisi Peter University of Dodoma
  • Masumbuko Semba Nelson Mandela African Institution of science and technology
  • Charles Lugomela University of Dar es Salaam
  • Margareth S. Kyewalyanga Institute of Marine Sciences
Keywords: Chlorophyll-a, monsoon seasons, physical-chemical variables, Zanzibar


Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentrations were measured at four sites around Unguja, Zanzibar during the northeast (NE) and southeast (SE) monsoon seasons. Data for Chl-a, nitrate, phosphate, ammonia, dissolved oxygen, sea sur- face temperature, pH and salinity were collected once a month from March 2008 to March 2009. The SE monsoon had insignificantly higher Chl-a compared to the NE monsoon season when Chl-a for Bawe, Chumbe, Pongwe and Mnemba were combined (W = 234, p = 0.93). The drivers of high Chl-a during the SE monsoon were ammonia and nitrate. Results from individual sites showed that Pongwe and Mnemba had higher median Chl-a during the SE- than the NE monsoon season. Temperature, dissolved oxygen and ammonia were the major factors that influenced high Chl-a at these sites. In contrast, Chumbe and Bawe had higher median Chl-a during the NE- than the SE mon- soon season. The major factors influencing high Chl-a in the NE at Chumbe and Bawe were high levels of nutrients, mainly from sewage effluent and various human activities around the coast in Zanzibar town. The interaction of Chl-a between monsoon seasons (NE and SE) and sites (Bawe, Chumbe, Pongwe and Mnemba) was insignificant (F(1,3) = 1.3144, p = 0.2949). The principal component analysis revealed that different physical and chemical environmental variables affect Chl-a concentration over time and location.


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