Indian Council of Agricultural Research
  • Pelagic seabird flesh-footed shearwater Puffinus carneipes
  • Hydrographic sampling on board FRV Silver Pompano
  • Studies on PFZ validation
  • Mangrove nursey at Moothakunnam for restoring habitats
  • Carbondioxide Dispenser and Recorder for Climate change studies

Home Marine Biodiversity and Environment Management Division

Thrust Areas of Research:

Environment and Fisheries, PFZ validation, Eco-biological modelling
Evaluation of ecosystem services and processes, marine litter and other anthropogenic impacts
Development of restoration protocols for mangroves, awareness campaigns
Focus on seaweeds, seagrass habitats, plankton, marine mammals, coastal and pelagic birds
Climate change –focus on carbon sequestration, Ocean acidification, society based programs Development of Indian finfish and shellfish biodiversity knowledge base to foster the assessment of biological diversity of Indian seas.
Biodiversity valuation of marine organisms in selected marine ecosystems along the Indian coast.
Assessment of fishing impacts on biodiversity loss with reference to threatened species and fisheries management.
Monitoring the conservation biology of economically important and threat-prone species and fragile ecosystem.

Development and Maintenance of database of Maine Biodiversity Museum to dissiminate the information on the web to make it easily accessible to all


Ongoing Research Projects:


Project title & Code

Present Status/ Remarks


Micro-level fishery environmental management plan for selected areas for sustainable production (FEM/HBT/27). PI: Dr.D. Prema

Inhouse Continuing 2017-2022

Observation and monitoring of coastal/marine pollution - its impact on sea life, prevention and mitigation (FEM/CMP/28).Dr. Asha P S.

Inhouse Continuing 2017-2023

Marine Macrophytes in India-Resources dynamics & Ecosystem services (FEM/MPH/29). PI: Dr. Bindu Sulochanan

In-house Continuing 2017-2024

Impacts of extreme weather events on marine fisheries in selected ecosystems of Northern Indian Ocean- A geoinformatics approach (FEM/GIS/38). PI: Dr. Shelton Padua

In-house Continuing 2020-2025

Developing Conservation Plan for Biologically Sensitive Areas along the Indian coast (MBD/CNS/30). PI: Dr. K. Vinod

Inhouse Continuing 2017-2022

Assessment of resilience potential of coral reefs (MBD/CRL/31). PI: Dr. K. R. Sreenath

Inhouse Continuing 2017-2024

Jellyfish bloom dynamics in coastal and marine ecosystems of India (MBD/JBD/32). PI: PI: Dr. Saravanan R.

Inhouse Continuing 2017-202

Investigations on diversity of marine viruses with special reference to finfish viruses and bacteriophages along the southern coast of India (MBD/VIR/39). PI: Dr. K.S. Sobhana

Inhouse Continuing 2020-2023

Assessment of marine mammal stock and by-catch and sea turtle by-catch for their protection PI: Dr. A. Gopalakrishnan

MPEDA funded, 2020-2023

Our common future ocean in the Earth system quantifying coupled cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients for determining and achieving safe operating spaces with respect to tipping points (COMFORT) PI: Dr. K. R. Sreenath

MoES – NERCI funded, 2020-2023

Completed Research Projects:

a. In-house Projects :

Impact of anthropogenic activities on coastal marine environment and fisheries (FEM/01)
Impact and yield study of environmental changes on distribution shifts in small pelagic along the Indian coast (FEM/02)
Development of fisheries ecosystem restoration plans for critical marine habitats (FEM/RE/03)
Valuation of marine and coastal ecosystem in Kadalundi Community Reserve of Kerala Biodiversity Board
Bioinventorying and Biodiversity Valuation of Marine Organisms in Selected Marine Ecosystems along the Indian Coast
Investigations on vulnerable coral reef ecosystem of Indian waters with special emphasis on formulation of management measures for conservation
Assessment and valuation of coral reef island ecosystem

b. Sponsored Projects :

Impact, adaptation and vulnerability of Indian marine fisheries to climate change – Phase II -
Validation of PFZ advisories brought out by INCOIS among artisanal and small mechanized sector fishermen along Kerala coast to compare the advantages derived for different types of fishing operations / targeted species -
Studies on marine mammals of Indian EEZ and the contiguous seas -

c. Consultancy Projects :

Consensus Building and Environmental Studies on Marine Outfall for Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP) Phase II
Marine EIA study for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Significant Achievements in the last 5 years


Significant Achievements in the last two years

Enhancing Competitiveness
1.       Marine Biodiversity Division of ICAR-CMFRI has developed a first aid kit - Jelly Safe - to treat the wounds caused by the Jelly Stings on the fishers of the south-east coast of India. Traditional fishers were trained in recognising the venomous jellyfishes and how to apply this first aid kit in order to prevent major medical conditions due to the toxic stings.
2.       Marine Biodiversity Division of ICAR-CMFRI has trained government staffs from Department of Science and Technology of Lakshadweep Administration on Procedures and Practices for maintenance and up-keeping of Marine Taxonomy Lab/Museum. The trained staffs could successfully implement the practices they have learned from us and initiate the creation of lab and museum activities in their department facility at Kavaratti Island.
Improved Governance
1.       As per the advisories submitted by ICAR-CMFRI, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Dept and Ramanathapuram District Collector have directed to install information boards and signage on Jellyfish sting prevention and management, along the beaches and landing centres near to the coastal waters of Palk Bay where the   Jellyfish occurrence reported. Such advisories not only benefit fishers but also a large number of pilgrims who visit Rameswaram from different parts of the country. The signages were given QR code to link to the multilingual guide on jellyfish sting management in order to get the information through mobile in 9 different languages.
Enhanced sustainability and conservation objectives
1.       Successful development of the 16 fish cell lines that can help in marine fish virology, toxicology, cytogenetics and gene expression studies.
2.       Six new species of sponges Hyattella repandus, Hyattella macrophylla, Hyattella foliata, Hyattella vedalainensis, Hyattella diffusa and Hyattella oblongus, a cone snail Conus laccadivensis and one snake eel Xyrias anjaalai were newly described.
3.       Two species of Acroporid corals Acropora cf. polystoma and Acropora efflorescens were reported for the first time from the western coast of India
4.       Redescription of the jellyfish, Crambionella annandalei (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) from Indian waters
5.       CATALOGUE-2018 Marine Biodiversity Museum CMFRI Special Publication No. 129
6.       Investigations on the migratory and breeding seabirds in the Indian waters and their interaction with fishery.


Fisheries and Environment

  • Correlations between environmental parameters and catches of oil sardine: Positive anomalies of CUS (indicating intense upwelling) were found to result in poor landing of oil sardine during 1926 - 1956 and during 1993-1998
  • Negative anomalies of CUS (indicating mild upwelling) were found to result in good landing of oil sardine during 1957-1992 and during 1999-2005.
  • mKrishi service developed for providing PFZ advisory for fishermen in mobile phones in local language
  • The analyses of PFZ advisories clearly indicates that the near shore regions of the Arabian Sea off Kerala with depths less than 50 m occurred more in the PFZ advisory maps than the mid continental shelf region and the continental slope.
  • Initiated detailed studies on Mudbanks of Kerala in collaboration with NIO. Significant observations were made on resources, pelagic birds, reptiles and plankton through targeted cruises.
  • A database was developed on Sr/Ca ratio of otolith of oil sardine and mackerel from Indian Coast for the first time in the country. Sr/Ca ratio showed significant spatial variability in the case of oil sardine and temporal variability in mackerel.


  • Continuous observation indicated that common commercial pelagic, demersal, mollusks and crustacean resources were free from mercury contamination
  • Developed time series database on heavy metals in seafood from three centres each along west and east coast of India
  • Developed data base on heavy metals (Hg, As, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Ni and Mn) in sediment at selected locations of west and east coast of India
  • Developed data base on heavy metals (Hg, As) in water at selected locations of west and east coast of India
  • Marine debris / litter from different maritime states were categorized as per UNEP criteria.
  • A methodology for grading the coastal ecosystem based on the spread of litter in water, in three tier (floating, column, submerged) was developed
  • Based on the USEPA (2004) guidelines, the sea water quality index (SWQI) was worked out for selected coastal areas of different maritime states
  • Micro plastics of size less than 5mm and 5 to 10 mm were recorded in the gut of pelagics.
  • Ghost nets were observed in the coastal and oceanic waters along west coast


  • Minicoy atoll had average biomass of 500 g m-2 wet weight of underground parts (rhizomes and roots) but had only 96 g m-2 of leaves indicating the canopy loss (leaf biomass) owing to herbivory by green turtles
  • Protocol for restoration of mangroves especially Rhizophora mucronata was developed, through participatory approach as a community based programme for Central Kerala.
  • Underwater explorative survey in the Palk Bay, revealed that three types of sea grass beds (i) Coral reef associated sea grass bed as observed in Mandapam area (ii) Mangrove associated sea grass bed as in in Adirampattinam, Mallipattinam and Sethupavachatramarea and (iii) Shallow sandy bottom sea grass bed as found in Thondi, Kottaipattinam and Jegathapattinam area.


  • The stomach contents of seven species of marine mammals consisting of 11 finless porpoise, spinner dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Indo-pacific humpbacked dolphins, Risso’s dolphin, tropical spotted dolphin and long beaked common dolphin indicated that the cetaceans feed mostly on teleosts with wide range of trophic levels.
  • Based on index that included frequency of occurrence, percentage by number and by weight, the oil sardine (Sardinella longiceps)was the most important prey in the marine mammal sample.
  • Muscle, liver and kidney samples from 33 incidentally caught and stranded marine mammals at six sampling locations showed that the trace metals’ concentrations in the samples were low compared to those from other parts of world.
  • Blubber samples from 37 individuals belonging to eight species of marine mammals were analysed for organochlorine pesticides. The concentrations of ?HCHs (BHCs), ?DDTs and chlordanes were generally lower than the values reported from other parts of the world.
  • Dugong scars observed in Palk Bay Sea grass beds during September 2013


  • It is estimated that the seaweed biomass along the Indian coast is capable of utilizing 9052 t CO2/d against emission of 365 t CO2 /d indicating a net carbon credit of 8687 t/d.
  • Targeted ecological observations and results of lab based experiments indicated that, if pH drops below 7.0 during the meroplanktonic phase of oyster, recruitment will be affected and therefore oyster spat densities can be used as an indicator for acidification in tropical estuaries.
  • Vulnerability index of West Bengal districts calculated.
  • SST variations and seasonal changes observed in three major lakes viz, Vembanad Lake, Chika Lake and Pulicat Lake
  • Fishermen awareness levels on climate change indicate poor knowledge on CC .
  • Surveys indicated CC impacts on coastal villages with respect to change in fishing area, sea water level and frequent extreme events.


  • Technology developed for seed production of sea cucumbers under controlled conditions
  • EIA of sea cage farming carried out
  • EIA of edible oyster farming carried out and management advisories for reducing the impact on sediment proposed
  • Farming methods for commercially important seaweeds developed.
  • Techniques for stock culture and mass culture of algal feed in hatcheries standardized.


  • Technologies developed for the propagation of Sinularia kavarattiensis in the laboratory and in open sea
  • Technologies developed for the propagation of soft corals – Cladiella laciniosa, Dampia pocilloporaeformis and Lobophytum pauciflorum in the laboratory
  • Technologies for the propogation of sponges and hard coral were developed
  • Deep-sea sponge species new to science (Semperellame galoxea sp. nov.) reported from Andaman waters : Registered in World Porifera Database (WPD) and World Register of Marine Species (WORMS)
  • Four species of corals, Acropora thomasi, A. valamunensis, A. mannarensis and A. josephi new to science described.
  • Bleekeria murtii – A fish species new to science described
  • A unique bacterial strain C29 isolated from Porites sp. from Vizhinjam was subjected to 16S rRNA gene sequencing and blast search. This strain was found to be a potential novel genus showing similarity to Fabibacter halotolerans under the family Flexibacteraceae
  • Herbarium of 85 species of seaweeds from GOMBR was developed
  • New distributional records reported from Indian seas

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