Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve
Gulf of Mannar is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve not only in India, but also in south and southeast Asia. The IUCN Commission on National Parks and WWF, identified the Reserve as being an area of Particulars concern given its diversity and special multiple- use management status. In addition, as the first marine biosphere reserve declared in India, this area has long been a national priority.
The Gulf of Mannar and its 3,600 Species of flora and fauna is one of the biologically
richest coastal regions in all of mainland of India.
Some of the islands are veritable Biologists paradise
It is equally
rich in sea-algae, sea grasses, coral reef pearl banks,
fin & shell fish resources, mangroves, and endemic & endangered species. It is an important habitat for the highly
endangered sea mammal, the Dugong dugon commonly called as sea cow.
There are 137 species of Corals found in Gulf of Mannar. The Coral come in myriads of shapes. Some have finger like branches and others dome-shaped colony with a net work of ridges and furrows.
Sponges, although at casual glance look like plants, are animals, living singly or in colonies of many individuals. Their colours vary as much as shape, being green, red, yellow, and even black or white. In the crevices, these sponges are found with many animals, ranging from tiny crabs and brittle star to bivalve mollusks. 275 species under 8 orders are found in Gulf of Mannar.