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2Department of Agriculture, Higher Technical Teachers’ Training College Kumba, University of Buea, Cameroon
Lake Barombi Kotto, the second largest crater lake of volcanic origin in Cameroon, is unique in harbouring a large island community and surrounded by hilly landscape in which agriculture is practiced. The high dependence of resident-and visiting populations on this lake prompted an assessment of spatio-temporal dynamics of phytoplankton in relation to abiotic and anthropogenic stressors. Samples were collected in two seasons across a transect, and at two depths, and subjected to physico-chemical, nutrient, chlorophyll a and phytoplankton analyses using standard methods. Descriptions, Analyses of variance, ordinations and correlations were used to analyse resulting data. Results showed that there were significant variations in ToxN and Phosphorus concentrations, which partially drive the observed phytoplankton patterns. There was seasonal and depth stratification, and species changes in some divisions across seasons. The Euglenophycean Index showed that the lake was perpetually eutrophic, with very high abundances of toxic Cyanophyta species that in some cases form associations with Aulocoseira granulata. The inconclusivity of nutrients and other abiotic factors as drivers of phytoplankton richness, abundance and distribution suggest a contribution of anthropogenic factors. These results are significant as they form the first stratified study of this lake that has enormous human and ecological importance.