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Kerala: Ballast water bringing invasive species to coasts by T. Nandakumar April 07,2016   |  Source: The Hindu

The expansion of seaports and minor ports could pave the way for the arrival of invasive species in coastal areas. Scientists fear that ballast water carried by ships is providing a vehicle to bring in exotic species. A recent survey by the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, had recorded the presence of as many as 10 invasive species in the biodiversity-rich intertidal habitats of the Kerala coast. They include one seaweed, one species of bryozoan, one species of mollusc and seven species of ascidian.

Shipping is a factor

According to a paper presented by R. Ravinesh and A. Biju Kumar of the department at an international conference on aquatic exotics, the distribution of invasive species reported from the Kerala coast is likely to have been assisted by shipping. The paper says that the expansion of ports in Kerala has opened ways for the introduction of alien species in marine and coastal areas. The authors point out that the colossal loads of ballast water carried by ships could transport fish, viruses, bacteria, algae, zooplankton and benthonic invertebrates to harbors at a faster pace. The survey also recorded the presence of a sea slug called Winged Thecacera ( Thecacera Pennigera ) in the southwest coast of India. Originally reported


© 2016, The Hindu

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