Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 20, Issue 2, 2014; Page No.(539-544)

STATUS OF CORAL REEFS IN ANDAMAN AFTER TWO MAJOR CATASTROPHIC EVENTS - TSUNAMI OF DECEMBER, 2004 AND BLEACHING OF MAY, 2005

S. Dam Roy, Grinson-George, R. Soundararajan, P. Krishnan, S. Murugesan and M. Kaliyamoorthy

Abstract

Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) were affected by earthquake followed by tsunami on 26th December 2004. The impact of this disastrous event was evident during the reef-health assessment survey conducted in January 2005. Some exposed corals were dead, broken corals were precariously living and dislocated corals and cracks in the coral reefs were noticed. However, the coral composition remained, to a large extent, the same in protected bays as most of them were away from the brunt of earthquake and tsunami. In a short span of five months the coral reefs suffered another major blow as the surveys indicated massive bleaching in the month of May 2005. Survey revealed that the live coral cover was only 6.5. The partially bleached, fully bleached, dead and other coral components were 4.8, 13.3, 19.7 and 55.7 respectively. The extent of coral damage and their recovery was studied during the subsequent months for monitoring their health and it was observed that live coral was 17.9 and dead coral was 22.7 indicating the recovery of partially bleached corals and death of fully beached corals. The bleaching was similar to 1998 bleaching event when completely bleached corals especially, branched died while partially bleached corals could recover to a significant extent.

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