1 CHAPTER 5: REEF ASSOCIATED FAUNA AND FLORA Introduction Associated Flora and Fauna Interrelationship CONTENTS 5.1 INTRODUCTION: ASSOCIATED FLORA ASSOCIATED FAUNA ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
2 5.1 INTRODUCTION: Marine intertidal zone is the most dynamic environment. Tropical intertidal rocky zones have been a topic of interest for all marine ecologists and are being intensively studied since a few decades (Little and Kitching, 1996). This area provides shelter to diverse fauna from invertebrates to vertebrates. There is intense variation in the benthic environment and therefore a continuous monitoring is essential to assess the changes affecting the local organism community. Abundance and the relative distribution are a tool to understand the changes in the assemblages of organisms (Dayton, 1970; Underwood et. al., 2000). Interactions between the abiotic and biotic factors along with spatiotemporal variation in the fauna has been given an importance recently (Danielson, 1991; Kleacher et. al., 2001). Microenvironment around zoanthids provides a perfect habitat to various organisms and in majority the molluscs to lay eggs. The zoanthids are in associated relationship as epizoic organisms (Perez et. al., 2005). Associations with crustaceans, molluscs and polychaetes have been reported previously (Wirtz et. al., 2009; Martinez et. al., 2012). However a few studies by far document the major benthic fauna belonging to Phyla: Mollusca, Annelida and Arthropoda. Benthic organism s viz., corals, sponges, tube worms, nematodes and zoanthids are found occupying same substratum and therefore space competition is observed. 519 species of sponges have been reported by far from India. Of these, 34 species were coral boring, from Gulf of Mannar and Islands (Thomas, 1996). The 114 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
3 cnidarians reported from India are approximately 842 as described by Venkatraman and Wafar (2005). The distribution of macro benthic fauna as reported by Joshi (2010) and Vaghela (2010) include a total of 127 species from Coelenterate, Mollusca, Arthropoda, and Echinodermata etc. Amongst those organisms which are sessile and found associated with zoanthids were phoronids, sponges and scleractinians and those free living were crustaceans. Major studies on Phyla Mollusca and Arthropoda are reported from the Coast of Saurashtra. Apart from that, few live corals too have been reported (Raghunathan et. al., 2004). 30 species of Actinirians have been recorded from India, the actual classification being still unclear of the sea anemones of the intertidal area only genus level identification was done. Identification of many of the organisms is not thorough at the Saurashtra Coast of Gujarat. Actiniarians have been studied from the west coast of India but no detailed records of biodiversity are available from Gujarat coast. At all the four sites, the association seen was different. Zonation patterns as described in the previous chapter are distinct and thus, the association is also seen to be different. Major zonation patterns are dependent upon the abundance of a particular species in that particular zone. Major seaweed association was observed at Veraval and Sutrapada and molluscan association at Okha and Dwarka. Percentage cover of macrobenthic fauna is described in Figure 5.1. Zoanthids are known to be symbiotic with dinoflagellates and occurs as endosymbionts in many marine invertebrates. Zooxanthellae transfer up to 98% of their photosynthetic products to complete host s energetic 115 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
4 requirements. Similar to Scleractinians, Zoanthids also expel the Symbiodinium in unfavourable circumstances. As previously observed by Kaladharan et. al. (2011) at Kerala coast, Zoanthus sociatus was seen to revive bleaching in a time span of 67 days. This observation was also made here in Palythoa tuberculosaand only one observation was made in Zoanthus sansibaricus colony. Therefore, detailed studies are required to understand complete physiology of these organisms and their climate related issues. 5.2 ASSOCIATED FLORA (Table 5.1) Amongst the flora observed, Ulva spp. were seen to be highly associated with the Zoanthids and Zoanthus sansibaricus in particular. 43 other species of marine seaweeds were reported from the coast of Okha and Dwarka and around 50 from Veraval and Sutrapada. Species level identification was carried out from Okha and Dwarka and Genus level identification from Veraval and Sutrapada. Most of the seaweeds were common with many not present in Okha and Dwarka. The red coralline algae were largely found under the zoanthid. 5.3 ASSOCIATED FAUNA (Table: ) (Plates: 5.6) Of the 30 species of Jelly fishes reported from India, only one observation was made in the present study at Veraval, although species level identification was difficult. Hydrozoans viz. Physalia physalia, Velella velella and Porpita porpita were recorded from the study sites at Sutrapada and Okha (Pandya et. al., 2013). Of the Actinirians, only four were identified till 116 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
5 Genus level and rest were similar to those found in the temperate regions. Phoronid tubes were in clustered pattern around Zoanthus sansibaricus colonies in Sutrapada s intertidal zone. Diversity of Corallimorpharia includes about 10 species along the Indian coast of which Rhodactisspp. has been reported form Dwarka coast (Dave, 2011; Pandya et. al., 2014). Of the 225 Scleractinian species recorded from Gujarat, live coral coverage is comparatively less in Saurashtra Coast, and therefore two major species were recorded and five other observed to be present. Of the total scleractinian species, Porites lutea and Siderastrea siderastrea were the major associates and competition for space was observed. As described by Pandya et. al. (2013) it was by means of three methods, the zoanthids were seen to be competing for space with the corals. It has also been mentioned in literature that Zoanthids prefer spaces where coral coverage is less favourable (Fautin, 1989). Swain and associates (2010, 2011) have described SpongeZoanthid symbioses in the genus Parazoanthus and Epizoanthus. As described in their study, host sponge depends on the sponge morphology. Here also, we recorded three types of sponges associated with the Zoanthids. Demosponge Tethya sp. acted as base for the growth of Zoanthid species. Also, many Syconoid sponges were observed to be growing in between Zoanthus sansibaricus colonies. Molluscs are the motile organisms in the intertidal zone and are often seen to be associated with many other sedentary organisms, viz., sponges and 117 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
6 other cnidarians. They were observed to be embedded within the Zoanthid colony for food and shelter. Egg masses of Nudibranchs and gastropods was also observed surrounding the Zoanthus sansibaricus and Palythoa mutuki colonies. Maximum association was observed with phylum Molluscs (48%), also described by Perez et. Al from Brazil in 2005, followed by Poriferans, other Cnidarians, Arthropods, Annelids, Pisces were observed (Pandya et. al., 2014). Of all gastropods, Turbo intercostalis, was found to be the most dominant species at all sites (Pandya et. al., 2014) followed by Cerithium caeruleum (Gohil and Kundu, 2013). Crassostrea sp. was recorded from Okha, Dwarka and Veraval s rocky intertidal zone. Most abundant of other gastropods were Chiton sp. and Cellana sp. found in supra to mid littoral zones. These were observed between the Palythoa mutuki colonies as well, tide pools and edges of the rock areas. Site wise, between sites Okha and Dwarka total 42 different species belonging to different phyla were identified. The most abundant taxa associated to zoanthids were Mollusca (72%), Crustaceans (2.8%), Porifera (23%), Polychaeta (1.2%). Dwarka was found to be harbouring rich biodiversity associated with Palythoa as compared to Okha. Similarly, amongst Vewraval and Sutrapada. At Sutrapada more number of molluscan and athropoda species were observed. Amongst the Annelids recorded during the study period, Nereis spp. was seen to be strongly in association with the Palythoa mutuki, Palythoa tuberculosa and Zoanthus sansibaricus colonies. Apart from Nereis, Sabellid and Serpulid worms were also observed sharing the space with the Palythoa mutuki and Zoanthus sansibaricuscolonies. However, only five sightings were 118 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
7 made during the entire study and mostly observed in areas with sand deposition. In Arthropods, Cirripeds and Decapods were the next abundant organisms represented by Barnacle Amphibalanus sp. and 30 species of other arthropods as recorded by Trivedi and Vachhrajani (2014). Barnacle abundance in the intertidal zone pose a difficulty in assessing the intertidal zone. Acetes sp. and Eumida sp. were reported for the first time during the study period to be associated with the Zoanthids. 23 species of Brachyuran crabs have been reported from Saurashtra coast of which 8 have been recorded form Veraval and 20 from Sutrapada. Palythoa is known to release Palytoxin, a potent marine toxin, however some poisonous crabs of genus Atergatis and Eriphia were recorded from the study sites (Trivedi and Vachhrajani, 2014). Order Zoantharia and Actiniaria comprise of many organisms which are in symbiotic relationship with hermit crabs. Ates (2003) has reviewed on the ZoanthidCrab symbiosis and reported that zoanthids survived on hermit crab shells inhabited. Dave and Mankodi (2008) reported the symbiotic relationship between hermit crab and sea anemone from Narara reef, similar observation is made during present study with in zoanthids dominated area. Phoronid tubes were in clustered pattern around Zoanthus sansibaricus colonies in Sutrapada intertidal zone. This indicates that most of the Molluscs and Arthropods are immune to the bioactive compounds released from these zoanthids. Similar to observations made by Perez et. al., (2005). Ophioderma appressa and a species of star fish 119 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
8 were recorded from Okha and Sutrapada as also described by Trivedi and Vachhrajani (2013) Competition on rocky substrata has been a topic of interest and those organisms sharing the same substratum type are found to be competing for their survival (Dayton, 1971). Commensalism, mutualism and parasitic interactions between cnidarians and hydroids (Genzano, marine ecosystems and Goh Nigel, 1999), Pennatulaceans, (Nigel, 1999) Corallimorpharians, Scleractinians, Zoanthids and sessile sponges (Suchanek and Green, 1981) have been studied previously. Zoanthid overgrowth as spatial competition was observed with barnacles and with Scleractinia by Pandya et. al. (2013). 120 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
11 Table 5. 2: Presence of other Anthozoans at study sites Anthozoa Veraval Sutrapada Dwarka Okha Actinia sp. Stichodactyla sp. Heteractis sp. Cerianthus sp. Anthopleura sp. Other species Porites compressa Porites lutea Acanthastrea sp. Siderastrea Favia sp. Favites sp. Turbinaria sp. Actiniarians Sclerectinians Corallimorpharians Rhodactis sp. 123 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
12 Table 5. 3: Zonewise distribution of Macrobenthic Community Zones Organisms Supra littoral Cerithrids, Cirripedes, Actinirians, Gastropods, Crustaceans, etc. zone Mid littoral Molluscs, Arthropods, Cnidarians, Poriferans, Annelids Infra littoral Corals, Poriferans, Echinoderms, Pisces Subtidal Echinoderms, Tunicates, Pisces Percentage Cover of Macrobenthos per m Arthropoda Annelida 60 Mollusca 40 Cnidaria 20 Porifera 0 veraval sutrapada dwarka okha Figure 5. 1: Percentage cover of macrobenthic communities at study sites. 124 ALONG SAURASHTRA COAST OF GUJARAT, INDIA PANDYA KHUSHALI M.
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