Hypersaline lagoons as conservation habitats: Macro-invertebrates at Muni Lagoon, Ghana
A survey on the aquatic ecology of Muni Lagoon was carried out during the period December 1993 to July 1994. Samples of zooplankton, aufwuchs and benthos were taken from a number of stations, representative of the different habitat types that occurred in the lagoon. The aquatic invertebrate fauna of the lagoon is listed and the temporal and spatial distribution of the fauna is described. The fauna is depauperate and biodiversity was related closely to the hydrology and salinity of the lagoon waters. During the early part of the study period, with dry weather conditions, there was very little macro-invertebrate life within the waters of the lagoon. The invertebrate fauna was confined to crabs, which occupied the fringing vegetation in the southernmost portions of the lagoon. With the onset of rains and the flooding of the lagoon, the sand bar separating the lagoon from the sea was opened turning the lagoon into a tidal system. This event brought a radical change to the fauna of the lagoon with very diverse marine zooplankton in some stations. Within weeks, worms and juvenile crabs were found several kilometres inland from the sea opening, an indication of the rapid re-colonisation of a previously hypersaline environment. The anthropogenic threats to the aquatic portion of this Ramsar site have been assessed and prioritised.