Coral Community: Preliminary Biodiversity Survey of Churna Island, Northern Arabian Sea
Authors: Shahid Amjad, Nuzhat Khan, Saira Ishaq
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Biodiversity survey between Cape Monze and Churna Island was carried out for the assessment of coral assemblages in the area. During the present study, diving surveys were conducted to document the living corals that included deep sea coral, Coelenterates, Bryozoans, Gorgonia (Sea Fan), Scleractinian, (Stony Corals) Cnidaria (Hydroids), Porites (Small Polyp Stony), Pocilopora (Cauliflower Corals), Acropora (Hard Corals), sea urchins, sea anemones, coral fish spp, sea slugs, stone fish and bivalves were observed and documented. To have a better understanding of the distribution pattern “Shannon Weiner Biodiversity Index” for species diversity “H” (0.845-1.176) and evenness “J” (0.962-0.937) were calculated, the values indicate that the coral species were evenly distributed and did not show any significant variation in the area. Budding coral communities were observed at the sedimentary rock of Churna in patches, and showed a random distribution behavior all along the surveyed area. Random, scattered and aggregate distribution patterns of corals may be due to the wave beaten physical environment of Churna Island that do not allow sustainable growth of coral communities. Moreover, the high energy waves and water currents destablize and erode the sedimentary substrate on which corals grow. The corals are therefore unable to establish themselves to form a natural reef due to loss of natural living and non-living substrate. The ecology of Churna Island also under the influence of nearby coastal industries, and the Hub River influx causing floods in the SW monsoon period that may destablize rubble and increase the seawater turbidity level. These environmental factors contributing to the deterioration of present day corals, and larval settlement. It may be concluded that biological resources are renewable and can even increase with proper management techniques. Breakwater wall and artificial substrate must be encouraged to further facilitate the growth and development of Corals in the area.