Ethnobotany of three sea grass species from Port Blair, a step towards its conservation in Andaman Islands

Mohammed Naufal PJ, G Padmavati


Ethno-phycology is the study of the relationships of human society to flora and its ecosystem. In the marine world, ethno-biology is a thriving area of research which have yielded valuable ethno-biological knowledge. The main goal of the present study was to understand the effect of abiotic factors as well as the natural and anthropogenic disturbances that shape seagrass community in Andaman Island and to reveal the knowledge of the local people, about the significance of seagrass habitat and its conservation. The qualitative study on distribution of seagrasses in Chidiyatapu (11° 29' 30" to 11° 30' 34" N and 92° 35' 10" to 92° 42' 30" E) was carried out during December2012 to February 2013. A total of three seagrass species such as Thalassia hempirichi (Ehrenberg) Ascherson, 1871, Halodule uninervis  (R.Brown) J.D.Hooker 1858, Halophila ovalis (Forsskål) Ascherson 1882, where identified. Among them, T. hempirichi, and H. ovalis found in this study was reported to have the ethno-medicinal value from west coast of India. As a part of the study, the  semi-structured survey was carried out among the local coastal people to analyse the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). The survey has revealed the  unawareness of  coastal residents about the medicinal, nutritional as well as conservational values of seagrasses. An effective implementation has to be taken to make them aware that seagrasses are fundamental components of healthy marine ecosystems and the local livelihoods that rely on them. The present findings provide the first report on the ethno-phycology of seagrasses from South Andaman Island.


Seagrass, Ethno-phycology, Intertidal, Thalassia hempirichi, South Andaman.

Full Text:



Short F, Carruthers T, Dennison W, Waycott, M (2007) Global seagrass distribution and diversity: a bioregional model. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350:3-20

Omena E, Creed JC (2004) Polychaete fauna of Seagrass beds (Halodule wrightii Ascherson) along the coast of Rio de Janeiro (Southeast Brazil). Marine Ecology 25(4):273-288

Orth RJ, Carruthers TJB, Dennison WC, Duarte CM, Fourqurean JW, Heck KL, Hughes AR, Kendrick GA, Kenworthy WJ, Olyarnik S, Short FT, Williams SL (2006) A global crisis for seagrass ecosystems. Bioscience 56: 987–996

Hemminga MA, Duarte CM. Seagrass Ecology (2000) Cambridge University Press, New York, pp.199-239.

de la Torre-Castro, M, Rönnback P (2004) Links between Humans and Seagrasses-An Example from Tropical East Africa. Ocean and Coastal Management 47:361-387.

Newmaster AF, Berg KJ, Ragupathy S, Palanisamy M, Sambandan K, Newmaster, SG (2011) Local Knowledge and Conservation of Seagrasses in the Tamil Nadu State of India. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 7:37.

Kenworthy WJ, Wyllie-Echeverria S, Coles RG, Pergent G, Pergent-Martini C. In Larkum AWD, Orth RJ, Duarte CM, Dordrecht, eds. (2006) Seagrass conservation biology: An interdisciplinary science for protection of the seagrass biome. In Seagrasses: Biology, Ecology and Conservation. The Netherlands: Springer; 2006:595-623.

Rosa Alves, Bonifácio, Mourão, Osório, Oliveira, Nottingham (2005) Fishers’ knowledge and seahorse conservation in Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 1: 1-15.

De Britto J, Mahesh R (2007) Evolutionary medicine of Kani Tribal’s Botanical knowledge in Agasthiayamalai biosphere reserve, south India. Ethnobotanical Leaflets 1: 23 - 31.

Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C. (2000) Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Application 10: 1251 - 1262.

Bell JD, Kronen M, Vunisea A, Nash WJ, Keeble G, Demmke A, Pontifex S, Andréfouët S (2009) Planning the use of fish for food security in the Pacific. Marine Policy. 33: 64-76.

Blount BG (2005) Small-scale fisheries in the contemporary world: adaptation and management. Reviews in Anthropology 34: 1-19.

Kovacs JM. (2000) Perceptions of environmental change in a tropical coastal wetland. Land degradation & development 11:209-220.

Ralph PJ, Tomasko D, Seddon S, Moore K, Maciniis-Ng C. In Larkum AWD, Orth RJ, Duarte CM, Dordrecht. eds. (2006) Human impact on seagrasses: Contamination and eutrophication. In Seagrass biology, ecology and conservation. The Netherlands: Springer 567-593.

Prabhakaran MP (2008) Ecological studies on seagrass ecosystem of Minicoy Lagoon, Lakshadweep. Ph.D Thesis. Cochin University of Science and Technology, Marine Biology department.

Naufal PJ, Padmavati G (2018) Meiofaunal distribution and abundance from the intertidal seagrass patches of Chidiyatapu, Port Blair. Indian Journal of Geo Marine Science 47 (02), 2018, 357-364.

Sillitoe P, Dixon P, Barr J (2005) Indigenous Knowledge Inquiries: A Methodologies Manual for Development. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.

Chandramohan P, Jena BK, Kumar SV (2001) Littoral drift sources and sinks along the Indian coast. Current Science 81(3):292-296.

Bernard HR (1994) Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, Inc.; 165.

El Shaffai A (2011) Field Guide to Sea grasses of the Red Sea. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and Courbevoie 56.

Dahdouh-Guebas F (2002) Remote sensing and GIS in the sustainable management of tropical coastal ecosystems. Environment, Development and Sustainability 4(2):93-229.

Heinrich M (2000) Ethnobotany and its role in drug development. Phytotherapy Research 14:479-488.


Copyright (c) 2021 Journal of Tropical Life Science