Coastal and marine biodiversity of India

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This paper summarizes what is known of the coastal and marine biodiversity of the Indian seas and their various ecosystems, from past literature, museum records and other lesser-known sources of information. The synthesis suggests that the number of species known could be of the order 13,000 or higher. However, the inventory is very detailed only in the case of commercially important groups such as fishes or molluscs and is very weak with respect to minor phyla or microbial organisms. In terms of spatial coverage, probably only two-thirds of the total marine habitat has been covered till today and the remote islands and other minor estuaries still virtually remain untouched. It is, therefore, likely that true inventory of coastal and marine biodiversity could be several times higher than what is known today. Lack of trained taxonomists, however, is a serious constraint to achieve this. Conserving what we have today is hampered by lack of management measures including outreach and our ability to predict what would live in Indian seas, by lack of data relating changes in biodiversity to those of environment.




Venkataraman, K., & Wafar, M. (2005). Coastal and marine biodiversity of India. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 34(1), 57–75.

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