Zooplankton community of Bakreswar reservoir: Assessment and visualization of distribution pattern using self-organizing maps

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Ecological Informatics


Self-organizing maps, otherwise known as Kohonen-maps, are one form of unsupervised artificial neural networks that can produce two-dimensional plots from multidimensional data. This tool is especially useful in community pattern analyses and has been previously used in spatial pattern analysis with different perspectives. The present study aims to find zooplankton's community pattern in the Bakreswar reservoir ecosystem. Bakreswar reservoir is a freshwater ecosystem in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India. The reservoir is primarily used to supply freshwater to the Bakreswar thermal power plant. However, the local villages around the reservoir depend on it for drinking water and fishing sustenance. The data used in this study was collected over two years from three different stations. Thus, in addition to describing the spatial pattern of community distribution of zooplankton groups, the temporal variation was also studied. It is observed in the study that the four major groups of zooplankton – Copepoda, Cladocera, Ostracoda, and Rotifera – react differently to the different environmental attributes. Primarily directed by the physical environmental factors, the effect of the chemical factors on the patterning is also evident from the study. Copepods are the dominant group in the system, closely followed by cladocerans and rotifers. But this observation changes at different stations and throughout the study period. The temperature profiles of the reservoir primarily direct the occurrence of ostracods and rotifers, whereas cladocerans and copepods are inclined more towards a chemical factor directive. Rotifers are dominant in the monsoon, whereas the post-monsoon and winter seasons show an increased presence of copepods and cladocerans. The overall observation that the reservoir's water quality is good, and the trophic structure is healthy is in accordance with previous studies as well.



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