Kappaphycus Alvarezii

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The government plans a seaweed park in Tamil Nadu, ignoring the threat that Kappaphycus alvarezii which is widely grown invasive seaweed, poses to corals in the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park running along the state's coastline.

About Kappaphycus alvarezii:

  • It is seaweed (alga) which is native to the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists it as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.
  • It is one of the prime threats that killed the corals near Kurusadai which was deliberately introduced in Ramanathapuram for commercial cultivation some two decades ago.

Key facts about the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

  • The Gulf of Mannar is one of the biologically richest coastal regions in all of the mainland of India. It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South and South East Asia.
  • In India, the Gulf of Mannar region in Tamil Nadu is one of the four major coral reef areas and the others are the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Lakhsadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands. 
  • It is designated as a Biosphere Reserve.
  • This Biosphere Reserve encompasses a chain of 21 islands (2 islands already submerged) and adjoining coral reefs off the coasts of the Ramanathapuram and the Tuticorin districts.


Q1) What is an Invasive alien species?

Invasive alien species are animals, plants or other organisms that are introduced by humans, either intentionally or accidentally, into places outside of their natural range, negatively impacting native biodiversity, ecosystem services or human economy and well-being.

Source: Coral breach: A silent, catastrophic invasion has happened in the Gulf of Mannar; here is how