Research article


Sathish S., Thirugnanasambandam Ramanathan* and G. Vishnu ram

Online First: December 07, 2022

The Gulf of Mannar (GoM) is well known for its rich marine biodiversity of coral reefs and sea grass beds, acting as a storehouse for the livelihood of thousands of people. A total of 4223 species of various flora and fauna have been recorded from Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (GMMNP) (ENVIS, 2015). GMMNP is situated in the southeastern coast of India, extending from Rameswaram in the north to Tuticorin in the south along the coastal waters. GMMNP has been declared in 1986 by the Government of Tamil Nadu under G.O.Ms.No. 962 dated 10-09-1986 under section 35 (1) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and later in 1989, GMMNP was declared as the first Marine Biosphere Reserve (GoMBR) of India by the Government of India. The GoM region has 21 islands covering an area of 623ha. These islands are comprised of different habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, mudflats, beaches and forests that support several marine flora and fauna in GoM. Geomorphologically, Coral reef in GoM is of fringing typeswhile some reefs are patchy near Tuticorin coast. Islands included under GoM are categorized into four groups named as Mandapam group, Keelakarai Group, Vember Group, Tuticorin Group. The Mandapam group of Islands is comprised of seven Islands namely Hare Island, Manoli Island, Manoliputty, Poomarichan, Shingle, Krusadai and Pullivasal Island (ICMAM, 2001).The Marine biodiversity zone of Mandapam are unique, mainly because of the coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves, which act as spawning and feeding grounds and shelters for many species of economically important finfish and shellfish. Coral reefs in the Mandapam group of Islands are mainly fringing reefs found at the depth range of 20cm to 5m depth. Over the past few decades, several studies have been conducted on coral reefs in Mandapam group of Islands (Mariamuthu et al., 2010; Shanmugaraj et al.2013). Also, several research work have been carried out to evaluate the health of coral reefs affected by several natural and anthropogenic factors such as coral bleaching, coral disease, coral mining, and fishing activities in coral reef areas (Edward et al. 2012; Manikandan et al. 2016; Edward et al. 2018). This baseline information emphasizes the special attention and action to be given for coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar This technical report provide baseline data for the researchers to protect the pristine ecosystem in future as well as helps to make effective decisions for monitoring and managing the biological wealth of coral reefs including mangroves (Ramanathan, 2017,2019, Gurudeepan et al.,2010, Arunprabu et al., 2017).