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About this project

Oceans cover the major part of our planet and play a critical role in stabilising our climate, not to speak of the innumerable services it offers to mankind. Notwithstanding the fact that the taxonomic and functional diversity of marine ecosystems are much higher than those of terrestrial ecosystems and that dependence on marine biodiversity is increasing with the increase in density of human populace, marine biodiversity is poorly documented and studied. Even the available information, collected by many research workers through their committed work, has not been properly compiled in the form a database. Marine organisms are proving their worth as important source for novel genes and medicines and providing raw materials for the biotechnology industry. Conversely, marine biodiversity is under severe anthropogenic pressures due to over exploitation, pollution, unscientific coastal zone development, invasion of exotics and climate change.

Considering the massive data on marine biodiversity available from Kerala on certain selected groups such as fishes and prawns and paucity of information on many groups of marine species, it is important to compile the existing data on marine biodiversity of the State and to collect primary data on gap areas. The State of the Environment Report on biodiversity prepared by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment also highlighted absence of a database on marine biodiversity. Efficient access to knowledge base on these natural resources is essential for their conservation and sustainable use.

Biodiversity databases and their applications in bioprospecting through biotechnological intervention and conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources is becoming more important these days. A data base on marine biodiversity, with detailed metadata, proposed in the project would serve as an ingenious tool for conservation and management of natural resources. This would also facilitate identifying gaps in the field of marine biodiversity informatics and taxonomy in the State. Application of bioinformatics in biodiversity data management and its impact on biological research are now well demonstrated. Without informatics-aided analyses, and supporting large-scale databases, a comprehensive picture of marine biodiversity could not be recognised. Ocean Biodiversity Informatics (OBI) heralds a new era in biological research and management that is revolutionising the way we approach marine biodiversity research.

In this background, the project on Marine Biodiversity Informatics for Kerala has been proposed with the following specific objectives:

  • To prepare an inventory of marine biodiversity of Kerala based on primary and secondary data.
  • To collect information on the Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RET) species caught in the Kerala coast.
  • To prepare a web-based data base and information system on marine biodiversity of Kerala.
  • To prepare an interactive CD on Marine Biodiversity of Kerala, which could be used as an educational tool to spread awareness about the marine biodiversity of Kerala.

  • The project was sponsored by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and implemented by Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Department of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Kerala.

    Project cost: Rs. 8,00,800/-

    Deliverables: The marine biodiversity informatics prepared for Kerala would serve as a knowledge base for conservationists, academicians, scientists, bureaucrats and students. This would also provide information on the Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RET) species and exotic species in Kerala coast and facilitate identifying the gap areas of marine taxonomic research in Kerala. The data generated could be used for education, awareness and conservation programmes, besides help identifying the gap areas for research. The interactive CD on marine biodiversity of Kerala would fill the long felt hiatus in this area of marine biodiversity. Above all, the data would also facilitate preparation of report on State of the Marine Biodiversity in Kerala. The database would also strengthen the existing regional and global databases through mutual exchange of information.