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Influence of commercial farming of Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta) on native seaweeds of Gulf of Mannar, India: Evidence for policy and management recommendation

Abstract

Seemingly unabated global demands for raw materials of red seaweeds for k-carrageenan have expanded commercial cultivation of Kappaphycus alvarezii in the extended areas of the tropics. However, this has also increased speculations of negative environmental effects of K. alvarezii cultivation on the native marine biota. In the present investigation the native seaweed diversity was studied from 2018–2019 in four months interval within the intertidal regions of 19 islands of the Gulf of Mannar. Data gathered were divided in to two categories, i.e. islands near to cultivation sites (2–8 km away) and far from cultivation sites (30–70 km away) revealed occurrence of 113 and 122 seaweed species respectively. Significance differences were observed only in percentage cover (F = 6.505; p = 0.013) and species richness (F = 10.312; p = 0.002) in between the two group of islands. Simpson diversity and Shannon Weaver indices were in the range of 0.870—0.884 and 2.554—2.707 respectively and no significant differences recorded between the two group of islands (p > 0.05). A Bray–Curtis Similarity index (95%) indicated a homogenous distribution of seaweed diversity. Dictyota dichotoma, Halimeda gracilis, Padina pavonica, Sargassum polycystum and Turbinaria ornata were the most common species in both groups of islands. The present study confirmed that commercial farming of K. alvarezii did not affect the native seaweeds diversity in the islands of the Gulf of Mannar.

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Acknowledgements

Authors acknowledged GOMBRT (BPO/713/2018) for financial support and our special thanks to Wild Life Warden for permission accorded us for carrying out the survey in islands of Gulf of Mannar. The authors expressed their sincere thanks to Dr. S. Kannan, Director, CSIR-CSMCRI and Dr. Amitva Das, former Director, CSIR-CSMCRI, for their kind support in funding and also encouragement to pursue this work. Authors are grateful to Dr. Alan Chritchly, Vice president, Acadian Seaplants, Canada for English correction and language editing. Authors are also grateful to Dr. G. Dharani, Scientist-F and Group Head, Marine Biotechnology Division, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu for editing of this manuscript. Authors expressed their sincere gratitude to Prof. P. Jawahar, Tamil Nadu Fisheries University, Tuticorin for analysis of K dominance and similarity for this study by using Primer Package software version6. This contribution has CSIR-CSMCRI PRIS registration number 148/2020.

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Highlights

1. First attempt to analyse impact of Kappaphycus farming on native seaweeds of Gulf of Mannar

2. Attempting to prove statistically on impact of Kappaphycus farming on native seaweeds of Gulf of Mannar

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Veeragurunathan, V., Mantri, V.A., vizhi, J.M. et al. Influence of commercial farming of Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta) on native seaweeds of Gulf of Mannar, India: Evidence for policy and management recommendation. J Coast Conserv 25, 51 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-021-00836-1

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Keywords

  • Seaweeds
  • Farming
  • Kappaphycus
  • Gulf of Mannar
  • India
  • Species richness
  • Marine flora