Coastal and Marine Ecology


Assessment of Environment and Productivity Patterns of Indian EEZ

An ‘Atlas on Environment and Productivity Patterns of Indian EEZ’ was prepared. This atlas provides comprehensive information on the physical, chemical and biological features of the Indian EEZ covering the various seasons of a year. Satellite derived Chlorophyll a data is used in conjunction with in situ data on chl-a, primary productivity, secondary productivity and benthic productivity to generate the fishery potential of the Indian EEZ. The estimated figure of 4.32 million tons of fish is more robust and reliable as the estimates are made separately for each ecosystem in the Indian EEZ and covering the various seasons of a year. Reliable transfer efficiencies ranging from 5 to 32% have been used in the model.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Commonly occurring Harmful Algal Blooms in the Indian EEZ are due to species belonging to the genera of Trichodesmium, Noctiluca, Gymnodinium, Gonyaulax, Cochlodinium and Chattonella. Recurrence of extensive multi-species algal blooms on an annual basis along the Northern sector of the Arabian Sea during late winter monsoon (February) and early fall inter-monsoon (March-April) and their impacts on the biogeochemical cycles and the fishery of this sector are being investigated under the National HAB programme. A number of harmful algal blooms have been reported in various coastal waters of India such as Noctiluca bloom off Kochi (30 km area)-(10-18 Sep 08), Noctiluca bloom (20 km wide) off Goa. (3-5 Oct 08), bloom of Gonyaulax sp. off Manglore (8-10 Oct 08). Efforts are underway to monitor the spatial and temporal variations of blooms using Ocean Colour Monitor sensors available on board both Indian and foreign satellites.Trichodesmium erythraeum bloom with straw yellow discolouration of the surface water spread over an area of 25 km2 was observed off Goa (May 2010) during the spring inter monsoon period. Surface chlorophyll a concentration and cell density of the bloom area was 12 mg m-3 and 2.93x106 filaments L-1, respectively. The occurrence of the nutrient depleted Arabian Sea High Saline Water (ASHSW) is expected to be the causative factor for the blooming of Trichodesmium species. It is well known that Trichodesmium can fix atmospheric nitrogen and hence occurrence of Trichodesmium blooms along the southwest coast during spring inter monsoon can be an adaptation to recycle nitrates to the ocean. Asterionellajaponica bloom was observed off Kochi during summer monsoon period (June, 2010) with cell density 5.5x 106 cells L-1. Greenish surface water discolouration was observed in the bloom area. The depletion of nitrate and increased concentration of phosphate is expected to favour the bloom of this pennate diatom.

Census of Marine Life (CoML)

The Census of Marine Life (CoML), begun in the year 2000, is a scientific worldwide Census campaign to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life. India started survey in the Indian Ocean in 2010, to begin the census of life in oceans. The census will be userful for measuring changes of marine life after natural changes and human actions. IndOBIS currently has record of 48,422 species.

IslandDevelopment activities

Ornamental fish culture was established in 2009 Kavaratti to commercialize in the Agatti Island of Lakshadweep. Other activities such as live-bait culture, pearl culture, biodiversity studies, etc. of Lakshadweep has been taken up. Black-pearl production in the Andaman Islands has been strengthened by imparting training to local people on nucleus implantation. Development, deployment and testing of open sea cage for open sea cage farming of fin fishes in mainland and A&N Islands has been undertaken. Mass culture of micro-algae in photobioreactor at Kavaratti Islands, Lakshadweep utilizing deep ocean water upwelled by the Low Temperature Thermal Desalination plant for extraction of biochemicals. Has been initiated.

Technology for fattening of Lobsters and mud crabs

A viable technology for fattening lobsters and mud crabs in cages was successfully developed and disseminated to select beneficiaries in the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu and Andaman Islands. There has been a substantial improvement in earnings of coastal fishermen due to implementation of this scheme. The technology for seaweed culture and lobster fattening and crab fattening have been extended to over 100 women beneficiaries in the Gulf of Mannar and 25 women beneficiaries in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Marine Biotechnology:

The understanding of barotolerant deepsea microbes to a considerable extent but under ambient atmospheric pressure and temperature has been developed. Significant work on the production of nutraceuticals like lutein from marine microalgae has been done. A prototype plasma pulse technology for biofouling control in pipelines and on plate heat exchanger surfaces, is under development.

Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System:

Extensive monitoring of marine pollution along the coastal waters was continued at 76 locations and it has been found that the disposal of untreated sewage from towns, cities and villages cause decrease of dissolved oxygen and increase of nitrate and pathogenic bacteria in the sea close to the shore. The data collected revealed that pollution problems are confined up to 1 km in the sea except at Mumbai where the pollution problem prevails up to 3 km in the sea. Model to predict the movement of oil during oil spills has been developed for the coasts of Mumbai and Chennai. Works to develop similar models for the coasts of Goa, Kerala and Visakhapatnam have been undertaken.

Shoreline Management

Under the programme on Shoreline management, problems of coastal erosion along the coast of Gopalpur (Orissa), Muthalapozhy, Vadanapally and Trissur (Kerala), Devbagh, Pavindurve and Kundapur kodi (Karnataka) and Gangavaram (Andhra) have been studied with extensive oceanographic data to provide solutions to the respective states. Field studies are being carried out at Pondicherry, Ennore and Shriharikota to characterize and work out possible engineering solution to stabilize the coastline.

Ecosystem modelling

Under the programme on Ecosystem modelling, hydrodynamic modelling of Chilika and Kochi backwaters completed. Field investigations for ecosystem modelling for Sundarbans has been inititated. Water quality criteria for copper, cadmium and mercury have been determined and are referred to the Central Pollution Control Board. Over 20 training programmes on hazard mapping, satellite oceanography, and marine pollution have been conducted.

Drugs from the Sea

A programme is being implemented to harness the bioactive principles from the marine biota for human therapeutic purposes with participation of several research labs and Universities. Over 2,000 extracts of marine samples were screened for wide spectrum bioactivity including anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-malarial, anti-leishmanial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-filarial, anti-trypanosomal, anti-HIV, anti-cancer, anti-osteoporosis, anti-tubercular, and neurobehavioral effects of marine samples. More than hundred hits have been identified, which need revalidation from repeat collection, and follow-up.

  • The Phase-I Clinical Trial of CDR-134-D123 (An aqueous ethanolic extract of Xylocarpus Granatum (an indig neous epicarp, obtained from the tidal forests) for anti-diabetic property has been completed successfully. Compiled data has been submitted to Dept of AYUSH for fast track marketing permission as Natural Product / Herbal Medicine. This compound has been licensed to M/s. TVC Shy Shop so as to develop the drug on herbal mode through AYUSH for faster track marketing. Inclusion of Xylocarpus Granatum in extra Pharmacopeia is under active consideration at AYUSH Ministry.
  • DCGI has permitted to initiate Phase-I Clinical trial of CDR134F194 (Xylocarpus Granatum, enriched fraction from the epicarp) having anti-hyperglycaemic and anti-dyslipidemic activities.
  • Monkey toxicity and genotoxicity studies have been completed with CDR-267-F018 (enriched fraction prepared from the fruits of Xylocarpus molluccensis), an anti-dyslipidemic and anti-hyperglycemic fraction, exhibiting no significant adverse effects.

Further, another novel compound was discovered by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, and US patent has been granted jointly between CSIR and the Ministry on “Beta carboline derived Guanidine alkaloids, Trichenduramine” and derivatives (2-20), from a sponge (Synoicum mactoglossum). These compounds are useful as Glucosidase inhibitors for the treatment of diabetic conditions, including but not limited to postprandial hyperglycemia and macro-vascular complications of diabetes mellitus.The Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education Centre (ACTREC), Mumbai is screening the marine samples for anti-cancer properties. National Institute of Ocean Technology is screening for anti-microbial bioactive molecules and Madras University is bio-evaluating for anti-HIV compounds.

Last Updated On 05/14/2014 - 17:00
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