Special Correspondent

RAMANATHAPURAM: The Central Salt and Marine Research Institute (CSMCRI) has found that the culture of seaweed particularly kappaphycus alvarezii will not affect the flora and fauna including corals and others.

Pushpito K. Gosh, Director, CSMCRI, Bhav Nagar, Gujarat, told The Hindu that a study had proved that bio-invasion was improbable in the Gulf of Mannar due to many factors.

Citing a report by a team of scientists of CSMCRI from Bhav Nagar and Mandapam, he said the team surveyed the reported areas of bio- invasion in Gulf of Mannar between May - August last year. Though the study confirmed the presence of K. alvarezii over the same two small patches on Acropora muricata corals in the south eastern part of an island near Mandapam, it was negligible when compared to the huge extent of corals in the region. A third small patch of K. alvarezii was identified near the location where germplasm of this alga was maintained by CSMCRI till 2003. Mr. Gosh said the actual extent of coverage of K. alvarezii in these patches combined was less than 0.0005% of the total coral reef area of the island. Other marine flora reported from the island continued to dominate and thrive there. Seaweed, seagrass, dead coral and sand habitats were found to be free of kappaphycus establishment. The adjoining Pulli and Pullivassal islands as well as the commercial cultivation sites along the mainland have no evidence of algal invasion.