SPECIES COMPOSITION AND DIVERSITY OF MACRO- INVERTEBRATE FAUNA IN A TIDEFED POND, AN AQUACULTURE FIELD, ENDOWED WITH MANGROVE VEGETATION IN KERALA COASTR. SUNIL KUMAR
The paper outlines the relationships between mangroves and aquaculture practices, and the valuation of the fisheries function of mangrove environment. The study mainly focuses on the ecological basis of this relationship, based on the species composition and diversity of macro-invertebrate fauna in relation to the sediment features of mangrove zone and adjacent shallow bottom area of aquaculture field. The meeting of mangrove zone and aquaculture field area creates the generation of a bulk of mangrove litters and fragments in the bottom area as well as the water column. These materials are subjected to strong microbial activity and the result is the accumulation and concentration of nutrients and organic matters that are used by primary and secondary producers. This overall production of food resources allows the development of dense macro-invertebrates in the soil habitat and it has a profound effect on the fishery potential of the aquaculture field. Important factor that predispose mangrove areas to serve as nursery areas for commercially important species is the abundant trophic resources and the structural diversity of it.Aquaculture development has been one of the significant causes to mangrove destruction in Kerala. Therefore, it is in the interests of the aquaculture industry to conserve mangrove that play an important role in assimilating nutrients and organic matters in the adjacent habitats and thus emanating food resources for aquaculture species.
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