Sampling in Cyprus natural lakes, zooplankton analysis and determination of biological indices from samples collected from the natural lakes and zooplankton analysis (abundance, biodiversity, biomass) from samples collected from coastal areas (Tender YY 01/2018, WDD)

1.5 years (June 2018  – December 2019)

Funded by:
Water Development Department (Republic of Cyprus)

Collaborator experts:
Dr George Kehayias (University of Patras, Greece)

Project Description:
Monitoring of Biological Quality Elements in the natural lakes of Cyprus started in 2014 and lasted 3 years, in the framework of two Contracts issued by the Water Development Department (WDD): YY 06/2013 (for 2014 and 2015) and YY 02/2016D (for 2016) that were implemented by MER Lab.

The natural lakes are seven in number and range from hypersaline LB1 (Main salt lake Larnaca, Orfani and Soros at Meneou), to saline-hypersaline LB2 (Akrotiri Limassol and airport lake Larnaca), to brackish LB3 (Paralimni lake) and LB4 (Oroklini) lake types.

For the period 2017-2018, WDD was monitoring several sampling stations in each natural lake for describing the hydromorphological, physicochemical and biological parameters. All the collected data as well as background information (for years 2014 – 2016), were used for the assessment of the ecological status of natural lakes, according to the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC.

Similarly during the same period the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR) collected marine zooplankton samples, on a seasonal basis, from four coastal locations (Cape Greco Protaras, Meneou Larnaca, Amathounta Limassol, Latsi Paphos).

The Contract Scope of the project was:

  • The collection from WDD and DFMR and analysis of 93 (78 from seven natural lakes and 15 from four coastal stations) zooplankton samples collected during the wet seasons of 2017 and 2018 in the lakes, and seasonally in marine waters.
  • Sampling surveys conducted at ten monitoring stations in the seven natural lakes, every 3 weeks during the extended wet season 2019 (November 2018 – September 2019); a record year in terms of precipitation. At each station physicochemical variables (temperature, conductivity, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen) were measured with a YSI. Water samples for chemical and other analyses (nutrients, priority substances, ecotoxicology, microbiology, phytoplankton, chlorophyll a) were collected. Macrophytes were also collected if present. Zooplankton quantitative and qualitative samples were collected using plankton nets (50 and 100 μm mesh size, respectively).
  • The collection from DFMR and analysis (zooplankton abundance, biodiversity, biomass) of 10 marine samples collected in 2018-19. The analysis and determination of biological indices from 89 quantitative zooplankton samples collected by MER Lab from the seven natural lakes during the wet season 2019.


The contract included 5 deliverables describing the surveys and the zooplankton community in natural lakes and coastal marine waters around the island of Cyprus. A total of 34 and 95 zooplankton taxa were identified in the lakes and marine samples, respectively. Background data on marine zooplankton were absent and were collected for the first time as part of this tender. Comprehensive reports were submitted that included photographs of all zooplankton species identified, tables and figures presenting zooplankton species abundance, biomass and several indices and ratios. Statistical analyses were conducted to detect if there were any differences and associations of the zooplankton community with the physical and chemical variables.