Summary of Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission No. IO50-10-0040PresentationPoster

PRESENT STATUS OF REEF FISH DIVERSITY IN SOME SELECTED CORAL REEFS OF SOUTH ANDAMAN, FIVE YEARS AFTER THE MASS BLEACHING IN 2010

Bitopan Malakar*1, Divya Singh1, Ravi Ranjan Kumar1, S. Venu**1

1 DOSMB, Pondicherry University, India

ABSTRACT :

Four reef habitats - Chidiyatapu, North Bay, Burmanullah and Wandoor were studied for their present condition of benthic substrates and reef fishes. The reefs of Chidiyatapu and North Bay were similar with higher percentage of massive corals (Porites spp.), Burmanullah with sponges, Wandoor with macroalgae and Hut Bay by branching corals. Live coral cover was 39.75, 45.75, 36.5 and 37 in Chidiyatapu, North Bay, Burmanullah and Wandoor respectively. The effect of mass bleaching of 2010 was clearly visible in Burmanullah and Wandoor where sponge (19.5%) and macroalgae (28%) respectively has taken over as one of the primary benthic substrate after most corals died out four years back. But recovery was evident in all the stations. The fish belt transect study of the key families of reef fishes have shown that Chaetodontidae and Scaridae were abundant in Chidiyatapu (6% and 9.3%) and North Bay (7.5% and 11.6%) suggesting abundance of corals (as both the families are primarily corallivore). Labridae and Acanthuridae (both families are algivore) were abundant in Burmanullah (11.7% and 17%) and Wandoor (11.2% and 15.5%). This study reveals that though mass bleaching of 2010 affected all the stations uniformly yet recovery is distinctive to each station suggesting impact of localized physical and chemical conditions of coastal waters and benthic substrates. Burmanullah and Wandoor are two interesting cases where abundance of sponges and macroalgae increased during the recovery process of corals which shows the competition for space among corals, macroalgae and corals. Diversity of reef fishes also correlates to the variation in benthic substrates in each station.