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Dive into the deep seas from the comfort of your home

Histocidaris denticulata, a type of sea urchin. Photo: Special Arrangement

Histocidaris denticulata, a type of sea urchin. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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An open digital repository of marine biodiversity data covering 5,272 species and 1.19 lakh records of these species is hosted online.

Information on thousands of species — from microscopic bacteria to the mighty blue whale — thriving in the depths of the Indian Ocean and beyond is available at the click of a mouse.

An open digital repository of marine biodiversity data covering 5,272 species and 1.19 lakh records of these species is hosted online (http://www.iobis.org) on the Ocean Biographic Information System (OBIS). India is a partner in a global alliance of more than 56 countries for developing the database.

The database covers a large number of fish, shellfish, marine mammals and corals. The name of the species, its scientific name, taxonomic details, geographical locations and information on its biology are available.

Expedition data added

While the historic information on species was digitised, information on new species from the exploratory cruises made by the ocean research vessel Sagar Sampada was also added to the platform. Organised scientific sampling was also carried out at select locations along the coastal stretches of the country.

In India, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Kochi, was designated as the regional node of OBIS programme. The integration of bio-geographic information with physical, chemical and environmental data to facilitate climate change studies is also one of the objectives of the programme, said M. Sudhakar, director of the CMLRE.

The DNA sequences as well as physical DNA of a large number of marine species have also been made available for ready reference. The Centre is also maintaining specimens of 1,130 rare deep-sea organisms including eight holotype (a specimen which is used when a new species is described for the first time.)

An analysis of the dataset indicated that Indian waters accounted for 25 per cent of the 34,989 endemic species reported from Indian Ocean region. Going by the available information, 15,042 species have been reported from the Indian seas. However, the number of species may go above 4 lakh species of Eukaryotes (multi-cellular organisms other than bacteria and fungi.)

The CMLRE is also planning to develop an online Marine Biodiversity Reporting System. Anybody can report occurrence of important marine biological observation in their regions using a mobile app and contribute to the inventory of marine biodiversity.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 2:17:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/Dive-into-the-deep-seas-from-the-comfort-of-your-home/article14506244.ece

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