Monitoring Nature’s Kidneys with the aid of Macrobenthic Assessment: A case study in the city Wetlands of Guwahati, India

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Zoology, Cotton University, P.O.Box 781001, Guwahati, India

2 Department of Zoology, D. C. B. Girls’ College, P.O.Box 785001, Jorhat, India


Aquatic environments, including wetlands, are one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Considering their ecological importance, wetlands are rightly appraised as ‘natural kidneys’. In this current study, the city wetlands of Guwahati were viewed for the first time through the angle of lesser-explored bottom dwellers. Guwahati, a rapidly expanding metropolis, is the gateway to northeast India, part of an Indian biodiversity hot-spot region. This case study comprised the bridge between abiotic and biotic factors, thus directing the pave for characterization of wetlands through benthos analysis. The study, covering seasons, viz. winter, premonsoon and monsoon, revealed 15 definite taxa belonging to 10 orders. The dominance of Chironomidae and Culicidae in certain wetlands indicated high tolerance of Dipterans in a wide range of aquatic environments, including polluted water bodies. Similarly, the presence of Trichopterans, only in the wetland located distant from the mainland city, marked that with less anthropogenic impacts. The Shannon indices for benthos were in the range from 0.17 to 0.97. Density was found to have a significant positive correlation with dissolved oxygen (r = 0.567) and a negative correlation with free carbon dioxide (r = -0.377). In contrast to significant site- wise variation in density, there was no significant difference in benthic diversity across the sites and no significant seasonal variation of benthic density and diversity from the statistical point of view.


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