Productivity of specialized environments

S.Z. Qasim


The term productivity here refers to "primary production" or the photosynthetic production of organic carbon in which carbon dioxide is the only source of carbon. This definition easily distinguishes primary production from chemosynthetic uptake of carbon dioxide by microbial flora, where no photosynthesis is involved. Specialized environments are in many ways unique ecosystems and rather specific to a particular region for example the backwaters of Kerala, consisting of a system of monsoonal lagoons and estuaries form such a specialized environment, the equivalent of which is not found anywhere in the world. The specialized environments are unlike the generalized marine ecosystems in which the changes could easily be predicted (Qasim, 1972a). The interest in the study of productivity of specialized environments began in 1965, at the Biological Oceanography Division, NIO, formed a small team of scientists and began studying the backwater around Cochin. Subsequently, in 1968, the study was extended to the atolls of the Laccadives. These studies were continued till 1970. In this communication, the productivity of the following three environments has been summarized: (1) Cochin Backwater (2) Atoll (3) Seagrass bed


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