The physico-chemical and algal characteristics of the upper reaches of Ebonyi River were studied in four stations over a four- month period from September to December 2014. The physico-chemical parameters: air and water temperatures, colour, depth, rate of flow, transparency, pH, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), alkalinity, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5), Dissolved oxygen (D.O), silica, potassium, phosphate, nitrate, chloride, calcium, lead, iron and mercury were studied using standard methods. Parameters such as colour, calcium, pH, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, chloride, dissolved oxygen, silica, biochemical oxygen demand, phosphate, nitrate, potassium and lead did not significantly differ between the locations (P ≤ 0.05). Air temperature, depth, rate of flow and transparency differed significantly between locations. All parameters differed significantly between months except depth and rate of flow which did not significantly differ between the months. Mercury was not detected during the study period. A total of twenty nine (29) taxa of algae were observed in the study. Algal abundance showed the following order: Heterokontophyta > Chlorophyta > Cyanophyta > Euglenophyta > Cryptophyta. Based on Shannon-Wiener diversity index, the water in the four locations studied is moderately polluted. The study revealed that though Ebonyi River is not heavily polluted, the fluctuations of the investigated parameters along the sampling points could be as a result of both anthropogenic and natural activities.


Title page
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Plates

1.1       Statement of problem
1.2       Objectives of the study

2.1       Abiotic Factors (physico-chemical parameters)
2.2       Biotic or Biological Factors
2.3       Economic importance
            2.3.1    Beneficial effects
            2.3.2    Harmful effects

3.1       Meteorological Data
3.2       Study Location
3.3       Collection of samples
3.4       Physico-chemical methods
3.4.1    Physical methods
   Rate of Flow
3.4.2    Chemical methods
   Total Dissolved solids
   Dissolved Oxygen
   Biochemical Oxygen Demand
3.5 Biological methods
            3.5.1    Algal species collection
            3.5.2    Labelling
            3.5.3    Preservation of samples
            3.5.4    Concentration of samples
            3.5.5    Quantitative analysis of algae (phytoplankton) and counting method
            3.5.6    Microscopy
            3.5.7    Identification of algal species
            3.5.8    Diversity index
            3.5.9    Evenness index
3.6       Data Analysis

4.1       Meteorological data
4.2       Physico-chemical parameters of the locations investigated
            4.2.1    Physico-chemical parameters of Obollo-Afor
            4.2.2    Physico-chemical parameters of Obollo-Etiti
            4.2.3    Physico-chemical parameters of Obollo-Eke
            4.2.4    Physico-chemical parameters of Ogbodu-Aba
4.3       Phycological investigations
            4.3.1    Algal Biodiversity
            4.3.2    Composition of algae observed in Ebonyi River
            4.3.3    Monthly variations in total algal density of Ebonyi River
            4.3.4    Algal Species Diversity and Evenness Indices
4.4       Correlation analyses amongst investigated parameters
4.5.      Algal checklist and photomicrographs
            4.5.1    Algal checklist
4.6       T-test Analyses
4.6.1    T-test analyses of algal populations between LWS and EDS
4.6.2    T-test analyses between LWS and EDS for the physico-chemical parameters
4.7       Statistical results for inter-location and month analyses (ANOVA and DNMRT)
4.7.1    Spatial ANOVA and DNMRT results
4.7.2    Temporal ANOVA and DNMRT results
4.8 Comparisons of Water quality of Ebonyi River with the WHO standards

5.1 Conclusion

Rivers as water bodies are important by being involved in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem through supporting diverse plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton) and other organisms in the food chain. In the last decades, there has been a growing necessity for the conservation of our resources, especially water. At the same time, growing populations, progressive industrialization and intensification of agriculture are leading to increased pollution of our surface waters (Mohammad and Saminu, 2012).

Adequate and safe water supply is therefore a pre-requisite for significant socio-economic development of any community. Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, especially developing countries including Nigeria, it is difficult to obtain a steady source of clean water for drinking and for agricultural uses (Akpan-Idiok et al., 2012). Rivers are equally useful in generating electricity, fisheries, irrigation and for domestic animals (Zakariya et al., 2011). Water required for domestic consumption should be free from suspended solids and dissolved impurities etc. (Alexander, 2008). Rivers constitute one of the major sources of water supply in the world (Akpan-Idiok et al., 2012).

The assessment and continuous monitoring of the quality of water sourced from rivers can be used to define existing conditions, detect trend and or establish sources of pollution. The quality of water is often affected by rocks, soil and surface through which it flows and anthropogenic (e.g. industrial, agricultural and mining) activities (WHO, 1996; Ibeto and Onianwa, 2011).

Several studies revealed that these activities coupled with atmospheric factors affect the suitability of water for all purposes (Faniraan et al., 2001; Daghrah, 2009; Hakim et al., 2009; El-Saeid et al., 2011; Al-Tabbal and Al-Zboon, 2012). Maitera et al. (2011) pointed out that sources of water supply are susceptible to pollution due to heavy human dependency on them. Urbanization, domestic and industrial activities thus have greatly contributed to increased scale of pollution of rivers and other bodies of water (Ibeh and Mbah, 2007).

Chemical pollutants include heavy metals, which are elements having specific gravity greater than 4.0 that is, at least 5 times that of water (Akan et al., 2010). The most common heavy metals that humans are exposed to are aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury (Akan et al., 2010). Heavy metals can cause serious health effects with varied symptoms depending on the nature and quantity of the metal ingested (Adepoju-Bello and Alabi, 2005). Excess exposure to these metals can however, be toxic (Akan et al., 2010).

Water physico-chemical parameters are known to affect the biotic component of an aquatic environment in various ways (Ugwumba, 1993). The change in physical characteristics like depth, temperature, transparency and chemical elements of water such as dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, nitrate and phosphate provide valuable information of the quality of the water, the source(s) of the variation and biodiversity (Mustapha, 2008).

Phytoplankton are microscopic aquatic plants, occurring as unicellular, colonial or filamentous forms, without any resistance to currents and are free-floating or suspended in the open waters (Zakariya et al., 2011). They are important water quality indicators because of their short life cycles, ability to respond to environmental changes and species composition (Dokuli, 2003). Algal abundance can be affected by turbidity levels. High turbidity affects primary productivity.....

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