Staff Reporter

Two books,Technology ManualandResource Manual, released and distributed

CHENNAI: A programme on bioresources was conducted for students at Shri M.V. Arunachalam Technology Resource Centre, Vadakkambadi.

The valedictory function of the 30-day vacation training programme was celebrated on June 10. K. Venkataraman, member secretary, National Biodiversity Authority, spoke on the importance of preserving the ecosystem. He released two books, Technology Manual and Resource Manual, which were distributed to the students.

Mr. Venkataraman said that diversity was much greater in the sea than on land or freshwater in the higher taxonomic levels.

"The marine ecosystem is dominated by different plants and animals, thus forming a variety of ecosystem types, including highly productive salt marsh and mangrove ecosystems, sea grass, reefs dominated by marine algae and invertebrates, sponges, bryozoan beds, and shelly mud habitats," he said.

Marine ecosystems and their diversity are important for various reasons, such as the ecological services they provide. Some of the ecological service are pollutant absorption, climate regulation, prevention of coastal and seabed erosion, maintenance of water quality, storage and recycling of nutrients, and the production of some kinds of sand and rock, food, medicines and industrial products, recreational benefits, and research and education. They also act as indicators of environmental change, he said.

He also spoke about the importance of coral reefs. The survival of coral reefs, which have been around for 20 million years, has become uncertain owing to global warming, and pollution, among other factors. These factors have led to a decrease in the coral population.

"The corals are vulnerable because they are near coastlines and near the surface of the ocean. Healthy coral reefs foster diversity of species. Fungi, sponges, molluscs, oysters, clams, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, turtles and many fish seek food and shelter amid the reefs," he said.

He described how sea cucumbers, worms and molluscs burrow into sand generated by the reefs to hide from their enemies. Pointing out that more than 50 per cent of the corals in the Indian Ocean were lost, he said that the intensity of the tsunami could have been decreased if the corals in the ocean had been conserved.

K. Perumal, Senior Scientist, Murugappa Chettiar Resource Centre; S. Seshadri, Deputy Director and Head; and V. Chakrapani, course co-ordinator, participated in the programme. Sixteen representatives from schools and parents of 30 students participated in the programme.