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NEW SPECIES OF RED ALGAE DISCOVERED IN INDIAN COASTS

Context:

Two new species of seaweed have been discovered by a group of marine biologists on the west and south east coasts of India.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: Environment and Ecology (Species in news)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the discovery if these new species
  2. Significance of the discovery of the weed

About the discovery if these new species

  • Named Hypnea indica (after India) and Hypnea bullata (because of the blisterlike marks on its body – bullate), the seaweeds are part of the genus Hypnea or red seaweeds.
  • While Hypnea indica was discovered Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and Somnath Pathan and Sivrajpur in Gujarat, Hypnea bullata was discovered from Kanyakumari and Diu island of Daman and Diu.
  • They grow in the intertidal regions of the coast, namely the area that is submerged during the high tide and exposed during low tides.

Significance of the discovery of the weed

  • As the two species have been found on the west and south east coasts of India, it suggests good prospects for their cultivation which can be put to good use economically.
  • Species of Hypnea contain the biomolecule carrageenan, which is widely used in the food industry.
  • The extensive calcareous deposits on the body that has been observed also provides room for thought. Several recent studies have shown that algae with calcareous mineral deposits are prone for the damage from ocean acidification – an aftermath of climate change.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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