Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 44 Issue 1&2

Experiments in restoration of benthic biodiversity in Pulicat Lake, south India

P. J. Sanjeeva Raj, Logamanya Tilak and G. Kalaimani

Experimental eco- and biodiversity restoration in the rapidly degrading Pulicat Lake (Lagoon), a major wetland in Tamil Nadu, was undertaken, with local fishermen's participation. Since benthic habitats and biodiversity, particularly the edible oysters were surmised to be crucial for biodiversity restoration in Pulicat Lake, batteries of roof tiles were deployed in 16 'protected areas' representing the whole lake, to attract oyster settlement. Within one year of deploying such artificial habitats, 83 species of biodiversity were found to colonise these experimental 'tile-batteries', where the edible oysters served as the 'keystone' species. Species diversity restored at each of the 16 'protected areas', indicated the relative abundance of species, ecological and seasonal succession, monsoon mortality and settlement of rare species and fish aggregations. These model experiments in eco- and biodiversity restoration are replicable in all other lagoons, in India.

Date : 30-12-2002