[Answered]Give an account of coral reef In India. Why are coral reefs so important? Discuss various methods of coral restoration.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Discuss various coral reef In India. Significance of coral reefs. Explain various methods of coral restoration.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the Earth. Coral reefs play an important role in marine ecosystems and support the habitats of flora and fauna in the sea. The vast diversity of animal and plant species that contributes to its system are increasingly at risk due to climate change. India with its coastline extending over 7,500 km and subtropical climatic conditions has very few coral reef areas.

Coral reefs in India: The mainland coast of India has two widely separated areas containing reefs:

  1.  Gulf of kutch and Mannar: The Gulf of Kutch in the north west, has some of the most northerly reefs in the world. Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar with numerous fringing reefs around small islands in the south east also have coral reefs.
  2. Coral Islands: Important offshore island groups of India with extensive reef growth include the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep group of Islands in the Arabian sea. The Andaman and Nicobar islands have fringing reefs (reefs that grow close to the shore and extend out into the sea like a submerged platform) and a 320 km long barrier reef on the west coast. The Lakshadweep Islands are made up of atolls (a roughly circular ring of reefs surrounding a lagoon).
  3. Other regions: There are patches of reef in the intertidal areas of the central west coast of the country. Coral patches have been recorded in the intertidal regions of Ratnagiri, Malvan and Redi, south of Bombay and at the Gaveshana Bank of Mangalore. Hermatypic corals are found along the shore in the Kerala coast and in Tamilnadu.

Importance of coral reefs:

  1. Sustain biodiversity: Ecologically, coral reefs are important because they are the counterpart to the tropical rain forest in terms of species diversity and biological productivity in the Ocean. Coral reef enables the formation of associated eco-systems which allow the formation of essential habitats, fisheries and livelihoods.
  2. Protect coastlines: Coral reefs protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms.
  3. Nutrition and Habitat: Coral reefs provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms. They are the source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients for marine food chains and assist in carbon and nitrogen fixing
  4. Economic: The fishing industry depends on coral reefs because many fish spawn there and juvenile fish spend time there before making their way to the open sea. The Great Barrier Reef generates more than1.5 billion dollars every year for the Australian economy, from fishing and tourism.
  5. Climate change record: In addition, coral reefs are climatologically important because they provide an accurate long-term record of the climate change and help in extending our knowledge of seasonal climate variability in many remote tropical oceans.

Methods of coral restoration:

  1. Biological restoration: Biological restoration uses various methods involving coral growth and transplanting to assist the restoration of a coral reef. It includes:
  • Asexual propagation: It involves the transplanting of coral fragments or larger colonies from a donor reef site to a reef of choice, most commonly a degraded reef.
  • Coral Gardening: Coralgardening is the process of collecting, growing and reattaching coral fragments at a degraded reef site.
  1. Structural restoration: Structural restoration generally involves the construction of artificial reefs, sinking of wrecks, or relocation of rocks/dead coral heads. The goal is to increase the amount of reef structure and habitat available for the corals and other reef organisms to grow on.
  2. Physical restoration: Physical restoration involves addressing the conditions in which the corals are growing to improve their health, growth rates, or reproductive ability. These methods have generally been developed more recently, and some are still in the experimental stages.

 Coral reefs are an important part of the ecosystem. It has not only ecological significance but is an important indicator of environmental health. Recent rise in coral bleaching has raised various concerns and efforts have been made to restore the same.

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