Benthic productivity in the Indian Ocean

B.N. Desai

Abstract



Benthic organisms form an important link in the food chain of organisms at different trophic levels. Between the primary production and the fish production, the role of benthic organisms first as a feeder of detritus and plant material and in turn forming food of some predators like crabs and fishes is now well recognised. This concept of bottom communities received little attention until last three decades. The investigations of Belegvad (1930), Jones (1950, 51 and 56), Sanders (1956) and Mulicki (1957) have thrown new light on the importance of benthic communities. Belegvad (1930) for the first time showed a direct connection between the variations in the quantity of benthic biomass and plaice fishery in the Atlantic region. In the Indian Ocean region the study of benthic productivity was more or less restricted to the inshore areas. In India, Annandale (1907), Panikkar and Aiyar (1937), Sheshappa (1953), Kurian (1955), Desai and Krishnakutty (1967 - a
b) and Desai (1971) have discussed the benthic productivity of nearshore areas and Indian continental shelf region. During the Indian Ocean Expedition, the Soviet ship `Vityaz' carried out number of observations on benthic communities and excellent papers on deep sea benthos have been published by Beljaev and Vinogradova (1961) and Sokolova and pasternak (1962). An attempt has been made in this paper to review our present knowledge of benthic productivity in the Indian Ocean and suggest course of action to be undertaken to fill up lacunae and also measures to be taken to increase benthic productivity with an ultimate aim to increase fish yield

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