The stream Balkhila is a glacier-fed and originates at higher altitudes from the Lal Mati glacier, flows through the famous Mandal valley of Garhwal Himalaya and finally merges with the Alaknanda River in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The present study aimed to assess the population structure, density and diversity of the periphyton community along with some detrimental ecological parameters in the glacier fed stream Balkhila for a period of two years on a monthly basis from November 2018 to October 2020. The stream Balkhila was represented by 17 periphytic genera belonging to 3 classes, namely, Bacillariophyceae, Chlorohyceae and Cyanophyceae. The class Bacillariophyceae was represented by 10 periphytic genera (Cymbella, Navicula, Fragilaria, Nitzschia, Ampohora, Diatoma, Synedra, Tabellaria, Cocconeis and Meridion), and Chlorophyceae (green algae) was represented by 6 algal genera (Chlorella, Ulothrix, Zygnema, Oedogomium, Spirogyra and Stigeoclonium). The class Myxophyceae was represented by a single genus (Phormidium). The maximum periphytic density (individuals/cm2) was found to be 316.7±7.1 x 103 in January, and the minimum density (12.5±3.5 x 103) was recorded in August. The SIMPLER test indicated 18.58% dissimilarity of periphytic communities between the two years of study. The Shannon–Wiener diversity index values were high (2.358 and 2.388) in December and January and minimum (0.2484 and 0.3534) in July and August during the first and second years of the study, respectively. Multivariate canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) suggested that most of the periphytic genera were closely associated with the winter season (December, January and February). The various ecological parameters of our study indicated that the Balkhila stream is a conducive habitat for periphyton communities.
Balkhila stream, Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), Diversity, Glacier, Periphyton
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