DNA Barcoding: A Promising Tool for Diverse Ichthyoplankton Conservation in Mangrove Ecosystem

Raju Ram

Among different ecosystems, mangroves are very exclusive that they are marginal ecosystems and distinctively well-defined by marked boundaries with high and low tide levels. Mangrove ecosystem act as breeding and nursery grounds for several wildlife species comprising fishes(finfishes & shellfishes), crustaceans and mollusk population. Currently, the mangroves are facing severe threats due to anthropogenic activities and climate change. Thus the habitat loss of this unique ecosystem has direct impacts in the fishery of the particular region.To conserve these valuable ecosystems and to formulate sustainable management and conservation measures, knowledge of biotic components of the mangrove ecosystem is required. A better understanding of the interaction between ichthyoplankton and its nursery ground is crucial for protecting the threatened fish stocks and this information could provide insights on the effect of coastal degradation on aquatic fauna (fish) nursery ground.

Despite the significance of mangroves as breeding nursery ground for aquatic fauna, researches on the documentation of early stages of aquatic fauna in the mangrove ecosystem have not been studied so far. With this experience the DNA barcoding approach can be used to document and compare the Ichthyoplankton diversity from mangrove areas. Under DNA barcoding process, a mitochondrial gene, cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI), has been standardized to distinguish all the animal species. The ichthyoplankton diversity in mangroves can be a useful sign of the state and health of an aquatic ecosystem. Ichthyoplankton diversity in an ecosystem can reveal their spawning output and make available an index of relative population size for the fish. Variation in the size of fish stocks can be detected more quickly and sensitively by monitoring the ichthyoplankton related with them. The present article conclude that DNA barcoding can play a very important role in assessment and conservation of biodiversity in the massive and diverse mangrove ecosystem.

Written by: Dr. Raju Ram,  ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education, India

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