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Algae > Volume 25(4); 2010 > Article
Algae 2010;25(4): 205-216. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2010.25.4.205
Invasion potential of Kappaphycus alvarezii on corals at Kurusadai Island, Gulf of Mannar, India
Subir Kumar Mandal1,*, Vaibhav A. Mantri1, Soumya Haldar1, Karuppanan Eswaran2 and Meenakshisundaram Ganesan2

1Discipline of Marine Biotechnology and Ecology, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Gijubhai Badheka Marg, Bhavnagar, Gujarat 364 002, India
2Marine Algal Research Station, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Mandapam Camp, Tamil Nadu 623 519, India
*Corresponding Author  Email: skmandal@csmcri.org
The marine red alga Kappaphycus alvarezii is a major source of κ-carrageenan. It has been introduced in 20 countries including India. Recently, several reports have expressed concerns about Kappaphycus invasion on Acropora corals at Kurusadai Island in the Gulf of Mannar, India, which is part of a marine bioreserve. To understand the extent of the Kappaphycus invasion, 27 randomly selected locations around Kurusadai Island and the mainland coast were surveyed during May-August 2008 and July 2009. Our rigorous sampling revealed that K. alvarezii was confined to two different patches of 105 m × 55 m and 8 m × 9 m located at the southeastern part of Kurusadai Island. The actual extent of the K. alvarezii canopy coverage was 76.7 m2, accounting for less than 0.0035% of the total coral reef area. The daily growth rate of the K. alvarezii at Kurusadai was 0.7%. K. alvarezii was not observed in the coral reef area of the adjoining Pullivasal and Poomarichan Islands or the Palk Bay area cultivation sites. The lack of functional reproductive cycle, low spore viability, and the absence of microscopic phases in the life cycle of this alga coupled with the abundance presence of herbivores may restrict the further spread of this alga, so its invasive potential at Kurusadai Island is considered remote.
Key words: Acropora; corals; Gulf of Mannar; invasion; Kappaphycus alvarezii; Kurusadai Island

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