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First Sea Anemone Bleaching Event Observed in Lakshadweep Islands

Context:

Researchers investigating Sea Anemones (Actiniaria) in the Lakshadweep group of islands have documented a significant bleaching event among the anemones off Agatti island. This marks the first observed instance of sea anemone bleaching in the Lakshadweep islands.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Understanding Sea Anemone Bleaching:

Definition:

  • Sea anemone bleaching refers to the phenomenon where these organisms lose their vibrant colors, turning white or pale due to the expulsion of symbiotic photosynthetic algae.

Causes:

  • Environmental stressors such as increased water temperatures, pollution, or alterations in ocean chemistry can trigger bleaching events.

Consequences:

  • Bleaching deprives sea anemones of their primary energy source, heightening susceptibility to diseases and elevating mortality rates.
Characteristics and Ecological Significance of Sea Anemones:

Physical Traits:

  • Aquatic animals characterized by soft bodies and the ability to sting.

Taxonomy and Habitat:

  • Belonging to the Cnidaria phylum, sea anemones inhabit ocean waters, especially in coastal tropical regions.

Ecological Relationships:

  • Form close associations with corals and live rocks, often forming symbiotic bonds with clownfish wherein they provide protection in exchange for food.

Ecological Role:

  • Vital contributors to benthic ecosystems, playing crucial biogeochemical roles in the lowest ecological zone of water bodies, typically involving sediments at the seafloor.
Geographical Information:

Location:

  • Agatti Island is situated approximately 459 km (248 nautical miles) west of Kochi (Kerala) and is positioned to the west of Kavaratti Island.

-Source: The Hindu


June 2024
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