There is a need to protect these delicate ecosystems as they have an important bearing on the marine life in the Bay of Bengal

Every time you walk on the rocks on the seaside you are most likely destroying a delicate marine ecosystem comprising algae, crustaceans, sponges, anemones and a host of other creatures.

There is a need to protect these delicate ecosystems as they have an important bearing on the marine life in the Bay of Bengal, Professor of Department of Marine Living Resources B Kondal Rao explained. Further, their condition reflects the state of the environment.

The professor conducted a field visit for a group of student researchers from BVK College taking advantage of the low tide. The group went around the exposed rocks on the beach near the lighthouse.

Nestling among the rocks were echinoderms like sea feathers and sea lilies. There were also algae, sponges, star fish, bivalve and univalve molluscs, barnacles and rock crabs, among others. There were also sea urchins that had attached themselves to rocks to save themselves from the high energy wave actions. Fisherfolk hunt for sea urchins at every low tide as their exoskeleton has a ready market as a souvenir, head of department of Zoology in BVK College M Ramamurthy explained.

Even the researchers and students going around the area pose a threat to the delicate ecosystems, it would be good if the authorities demarcate an area and create an in situ safari park whereby the students and researchers can view the marine beings without actually damaging their habitats, Ramamurthy suggested.

The algae, molluscs, barnacles and other shore-based marine beings are so small that they get crushed underfoot, he added.