Deep Sea Faunal Diversity in India

Context

  • Recently, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, published the book titled ‘Deep Sea Faunal Diversity in India’.

  • Deep Sea Faunal Diversity in India is the first detailed work on deep-sea organisms of the country.

  • This publication, the first of its kind, provides baseline information on all groups of fauna and biological organisms in the Indian deep seas.

Key Findings of Deep Sea Faunal Diversity in India

  • India is home to 4,371 species of deep-sea fauna, including 1,032 species under the kingdom Protista and 3,339 species under the kingdom Animalia, a recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed.

    Deep Sea Faunal Diversity in India
    Source: The Hindu

  • India is surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and the Laccadive Sea (Lakshadweep Sea).
  • Of the 4,371 species, the maximum of 2,766 species has been reported from deep sea areas of the Arabian Sea, followed by 1,964 species from the Bay of Bengal, 1,396 species from the Andaman Sea, and only 253 species from the Laccadive Sea.

Deep Sea Ecosystem

  • The deep-sea ecosystem is considered to be below a depth of 200 metres, where solar energy cannot support primary productivity through photosynthesis.
  • The deep sea ecosystem was the most unexplored ecosystem across the world.
  • It included hydrothermal vents, submarine canyons, deep sea trenches, sea mounts, cold seeps, and mud volcanoes. 

31 species of sea mammals

  • There are 31 species of sea mammals which are found in deep sea ecosystem of Indian waters, including the Critically Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin. Two other species, the Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoise and the Sperm Whale, are recorded as ‘Vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification.
  • The list of mammals includes Cuvier’s Beaked Whale and Short-beaked Common Dolphin, which dive as deep as 8,000 metres below the Earth’s surface.

Marine turtles

  • Out of the seven species of marine turtles found across the world, five species have been recorded from Indian waters.
  • India is known as one of the best and largest breeding grounds for sea turtles, especially for Olive Ridley and Leatherback Turtles, across the world.
  • The publication’s chapter-wise description includes details of 36 species of sponges, 30 species of hard corals, 92 species of octocorals, 124 species of hydrozoans, seven species of jellyfish, and seven species of comb jellies.
  • The other deep-sea fauna found in Indian waters include, among others, 150 species of molluscs, including 54 species of cephalopods; 134 species of prawns; 23 species of lobsters; 230 species of echinoderms, 53 species of tunicates, 443 species of fishes and 18 species of sea snakes.

Source: The Hindu


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