Exploring Mangrove system in Andaman Island

March 4, 2018

Gayatri Kumari (SEES batch 2017-2019) was amongst the 15 Master and Ph.D. students from across India who were selected for a fully funded two-week workshop on “Tropical Marine Biology and Ecology” held from 4th to 18th March 2018 in Andaman and Nicobar islands. The programme was supported by Department of Biotechnology, Dakshin Foundation, Indian Institute of Science, and facilitated by Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team (ANET) at Wandoor (South Andaman). On arrival at Wandoor, she finds the islands life filled up with adventure and thrill. Amid of wilderness that included tropical evergreen forests of very tall Dipterocarpus, variety of mangrove species and nearby Crocodile sanctuary. She shared the ANET base with snakes (Andaman pit wiper), birds (Andaman Drongo), giant geckos, hermit crabs and many other endemic species. Through the workshop Gayatri explored theoretical and conservation aspects of different marine ecosystems like mangrove creeks, coral reefs, and rocky beaches. She gained knowledge on ecological and social functions of different marine ecosystems through rigorous lectures, discussions and field activities like Mangrove Night-walk, Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, visit to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Parks, Crocodile Sanctuary, fishery export market and National Institute of Oceanography. As a part of thrilling Mangrove night-walk activity, she learned to conduct research at night in mangrove creeks inundated with knee filled muddy water. During her walk, she spotted mangrove fauna like sea snakes, bivalves, starfish, crabs, shrimps, mollusc, etc. and marine algae. Through snorkelling at Coral reef ecosystems helped her to develop underwater research skills in which she observed and identified different types of corals, starfish, sea-cucumbers, sea urchins, fishes and other inhabitants of corals. Beside this, Gayatri finds scuba diving at Coral reef as a breathtaking experience amid colorful vast reef flora and fauna. Overall, this workshop allowed her to witness the issues affecting island ecosystem with multiple lenses having social, ecological and economic dimensions. After being back, she utilized the gained knowledge in her course projects like Sustainable Development and Coastal and Marine Ecosystem. Post workshop, she finds herself more motivated and sensitized to contribute in conservation of marine and island ecosystems.

Scuba diving, Underwater research (Snorkelling) at Andaman Sea and field observation at Wandoor Mangroves Photo Credit – Mahima Jaini

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