Lagoons Environmental parameters are the major determinants

Lagoons
have been reported to be one of the features dominating the stretches of the
coast of West Africa (Adesalu and Nwankwo, 2012) and represent about 15% of the
world coastal zone (Solarin, 1998). They are valued as natural habours and
nursery grounds for shrimps and marine fishes and have also been reported to
sustain a significant fishery (Adesalu and Nwakwo, 2012). The biota in lagoon
usually comprises plankton, nekton and benthos (Onyema, 2013) with
phytoplankton being a very important component on which the entire array of
life depends (Abdul et al., 2015).

 Phytoplankton
are free- floating unicellular and colonial organisms that form a crucial part
of an aquatic ecosystem as they are the primary producers through which energy
is transferred to higher organisms in the food chain (Saifullah et al., 2014; Sharma et al., 2015; Tilahun and Ayalew, 2015).
They inhabit the upper part of the water column down to the limit of light
penetration known as the euphotic zone. Phytoplankton biomass and productivity
play a vital role in regulating the population and diversity of organisms in
the higher trophic levels (Kathiresan, 2000; Gnanamorthy et al., 2013). Also information on the primary productivity is a
very important tool for forecasting the fishery potential of a water body
(Rajkumar et al., 2009).

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Environmental
parameters are the major determinants that control the dynamics in the
abundance, diversity and distribution of phytoplankton in any aquatic ecosystem
(Hulyal and Kaliwal, 2009). Changes in environmental parameters may have adverse
effects on the production and physiological properties of the biological
components in an aquatic ecosystem thereby reducing the ability of such
organisms to compete with other populations within the environment (Dushyant
and Singh, 2013). Due to their sensitivity to changes in the environment, phytoplankton
are often used as important indicators of water quality in ecological studies (Brettum
and Andersen, 2005).

Various
studies have been carried out on phytoplankton and environmental parameters of
Lagoons in Sub-Sahara, Africa (Onyema, 2009, Onyema and Nwankwo, 2009, Adesalu,
2012, Adesalu and Nwankwo, 2012) where univariate analyses were mostly used. However,
Lekki lagoon has not been extensively studied on this area.  This study therefore aims to investigate the
relationship (complex) between phytoplankton distribution and environmental
parameters in Lekki lagoon with a view of detecting the set of environmental
parameters that best explain the distribution and abundance of phytoplankton in
the Lagoon.

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