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Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services

As a part of the activities of  MoES Scheme 'Coastal Research' i.e., under  “Ecosystem Based Services - An Approach for Management of Coastal Areas” two R&D programmes are being implemented by the Ecosystem Services Group of NCCR.

A) The Marine Ecosystem Dynamics of Eastern Arabian Sea (MEDAS) for entire west coast (Okha to Kanyakumari) in association with CMLRE (Kochi):

Understanding the complexity and interplay of  upwelling and winter convective mixing  in the different seasons along the Eastern Arabian Sea  (EAS)  i.e., the shelf region  (Okha to Kanyakumari) of west coast is crucial for ecosystem management. Recurrent deoxygenation is a critical factor that regulates the EAS. Under this program the following objectives are being addressed at NCCR.

  • Assess the factors causing the formation/intensification of seasonal anoxia along the EAS.
  • Understanding the dynamics  and fluxes of  trace gases and its controlling factors along the EAS
  • Impact of hypoxia on benthic fauna along the EAS
  • Documenting the benthic ecological quality along the shelf waters of EAS
  • Investigating the linkage between the benthic – pelagic coupling

In order to meet the above objectives,  monthly/as well as seasonal (winter, spring and summer) measurements of various physical and biogeochemical parameters at selected  locations between 10 to 2000m depth contours along fixed transects were carried out from December 2017 to January 2019.

To estimate the land derived fluxes into the coastal waters along west coast seasonal sampling for physical and biogeochemical parameters at major estuarine locations such as Kochi Backwaters; Netravati River; Mandovi and Zuari Estuary; Thane and Amba estuary;  Narmada river) was conducted during June, September and December 2018.

B) The Ecosystem Based Services for the SE coast of India (Pulicat to Gulf of Mannar) in association with GIA Institutes (IIT-Delhi & Andhra university-Visakhapatnam):

The present R&D activities comprising both field and model investigations are confined to Pulicat lake (located on SE coast of India) and are being implemented by NCCR in association with  the Grant-In-Aid institutions (Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi and Centre for Studies on  Bay of Bengal, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam) .

Pulicat lake has three seasonal inlets to the Bay of Bengal. The closure of the inlets during the non-monsoon seasons affects the local fishery and livelihood of the fishing community. To understand the ecosystem character of the lake due to the closure of the inlets monthly field measurements on various biogeochemical parameters have been initiated since August 2018.

The following activities are being implemented:

  • Analysis of multi-disciplinary data including satellite data, historical data, primary and secondary data etc., related to physical and biogeochemical parameters.
  • Monthly field observations for understanding the ecosystem characteristics of Pulicat Lake.
  • Assessing the dynamics of trace gases (N2O, CH4, CO2).
  • Assessing the benthic ecological status.
  • Development of regional nutrient climatological datasets for modelling studies.
  • Application of empirical and numerical models (1D/2D/3D) on physical and biogeochemical coupled processes – simulations and validation of models.

  • Projects on Ecosystem Modelling (R & D) have been successfully implemented for semi-enclosed coastal water bodies such as Chilika lagoon, Cochin backwaters, Sunderbans and for open coast shelf waters (Southwest coast). The interventions based on these studies have resulted in improvement of the productivity and as well as the overall biodiversity of these coastal water bodies. For ex. the artificial dredging of the Chilika mouth has led to improvement of the water quality in the lake.
  • Establishment of trace gas analysis facility at NCCR.
  • The capability in doing ecosystem modelling for the shallow water (estuaries, lagoon, backwaters etc) to open coastal waters (SW coastal waters of India) has improved considerably.
  • Several model coefficients/constants for ecosystem models have been determined through field and laboratory experiments.
  • Benthic index was developed for assessing the ecological quality of the coastal waters of Kochi.
  •  A number of  training programs on ecosystem modeling have been conducted for different stake holders like the State Government/University Faculty & Researchers/NGOs etc.


  • Panda US., Usha T., Ramana Murthy MV. 2022. Perspectives on Coastal Research. Geography and You. 22 (148):8-15.
  • Naidu, SA., H Yokoyama., K Ramaneswari., Bhavani E Narayanaswamy., US Panda., MV Ramanamurthy. 2022. First description of two Paraprionospio species (Polychaeta:Spionidae) from tropical estuarine and coastal waters of India. International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies. 9(6): 32-42.
  • Charitha Pattiaratchi., Mirjam van der Mheen., Cathleen Schlundt., Bhavani E., Narayanaswamy., Appalanaidu Sura., Sara Hajbane., Rachel White., Nimit Kumar., Michelle Fernandes., SarathWijeratne. 2022. Plastics in the Indian Ocean – sources, transport, distribution, and impacts. Ocean Science. 18, 1–28, 2022.
  • Pandiya rajan R S, Kumaraswami M, Anitha Gera, Ramu K, Ranga Rao V, Ramanamurthy M.V. (2022). Benthic quality assessment of a hypersaline lake along the southeast coast of India. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 56, 102653.
  • Pandiya rajan R S, Anitha Gera , Ramu K, Rao VR,  Murthy MV. (2022). Influence of salinity on the meiofaunal distribution in a hypersaline lake along the southeast coast of India. Environmental monitoring and Assessment,18, 194(3):199.
  • Ezhilarasan P, Charan Kumar Basuri, Anitha Gera, Kumaraswami M, Ranga Rao V and Ramana Murthy M V. (2021). Mesozooplankton distribution in relation to the salinity gradient in a tropical hypersaline lake. Journal of Sea Research,178, 102138.
  • Anitha Gera, Kumaraswami M, Ranga Rao V, Akhilesh Vijay, Pandiyarajan R.S, Ezhilarasan P, Ramana Murthy M.V. (2021). The Pulicat, a distinctive shallow lagoon: Hypersalinity, thermodynamics and meromixis. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 252,107292.
  • Naidu, S.A, L, Mawii, V, Ranga Rao, G, Anitha, P, Mishra, Bhavani E, Narayanaswamy, V, Anil Kumar, M.V, Ramana Murthy, and Gupta, G.V.M. (2021). Characterization of plastic debris from surface waters of the eastern Arabian Sea-Indian Ocean. Marine pollution bulletin. 169, 112468.
  • Karati, K.K, Ashadevi, C.R, Harikrishnachari, N.V, Sudheesh, V, Kumaraswami, M, Naidu, SA, and Ramana Murthy, MV. (2021). Hydrodynamic variability and nutrient status structuring the mesozooplankton community of the estuaries along the west coast of India. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28, 42477-42495.
  • Vijay A, Munnooru K, Reghu G, Gera A, Vinjamuri RR, Ramanamurthy MV. (2021). Nutrient dynamics and budgeting in a semi-enclosed coastal hypersaline lagoon.  Environmental Science and Pollution Research, ISSN 1614-7499.
  • Ezhilarasan, P., Vishnu Vardhan Kanuri., Sathish Kumar, P., Kumaraswami, M., Durga Rao, G., Sivaji Patra., Dash, S.K., Ranga Rao, V., Ramu, K., Ramana Murthy, M.V.  (2020). Influence of environmental variables on the distribution and community structure of mesozooplankton in the coastal waters of the eastern Arabian Sea. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 39, 101480.
  • Kumar, P. S., Kumaraswami, M., Ezhilarasan, P., Rao, G. D., Sivasankar, R., Rao, V. R., & Ramu, K. (2020). Blooming of Gonyaulax polygramma along the southeastern Arabian Sea: Influence of upwelling dynamics and anthropogenic activities. Marine Pollution Bulletin151, 110817. 
  • Sivasankar, R., Ezhilarasan, P., Vishnu Vardhan, K., Kumaraswami, M., Ranga Rao, V., Ramu, K. (2019). On the occurrence of buckler crab Cryptopodia angulata in the coastal waters of India. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences 48(4), 464-467.
  • Kumaraswami, M., Dash, S.K., Rao, G.D., Ramu, K., Rao, V.R. (2019). Estimation of inherent optical properties using quasi-analytical algorithm along the coastal waters of southeast Arabian Sea. Ocean Dynamics, 69(8), 925-937.
  • Naidu, S.A. (2019). Preliminary study and first evidence of presence of microplastics and colorants in green mussel, Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758), from southeast coast of India. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 140, 416-422.
  • Sivasankar, R., Ezhilarasan, P., Sathish Kumar, P., Naidu, S.A., Rao, G.D., Vishnu  Vardhan, K., Ranga Rao, V. and Ramu, K. (2018). Loricate ciliates as an indicator of eutrophication status in the estuarine and coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 129, 207-211.
  • Naidu, S.A., Ranga Rao, V. and Ramu, K. (2018). Microplastics in the benthic invertebrates from the coastal waters of Kochi, Southeastern Arabian Sea. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 40, 1377-1383. 
  • Ezhilarasan, P., Vishnu Vardhan, K., Sivasankar, R., Sathish Kumar, P., Ramana Murthy, M.V., Ranga Rao, V. and Ramu, K. (2018). Surface mesozooplankton assemblages in a tropical coastal upwelling ecosystem: Southeastern Arabian Sea. Continental Shelf Research, 168, 28-38.
  • Sathish Kumar, P., Kumaraswami, M., Durga Rao, G., Ezhilarasan, P., Sivasankar, R., Ranga Rao, V., and Ramu, K. (2018). Influence of nutrient fluxes on phytoplankton community and harmful algal blooms along the coastal waters of southeastern Arabian Sea. Continental Shelf Research, 161, 20-28. 
  • Naidu, S.A., Rao, G.D., Vishnu Vardhan, K., Kumaraswami, M, Ranga Rao, V. and Ramu, K. (2018). Impact of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on the benthic ecological quality of the coastal waters of Kochi, Southwest coast of India. International Journal of Environmental Research, 12, 861-875. 
  • Mahanty, M.M., Mohanty, P.K., Pradhan, S., Samal, R.N., Ranga Rao, V. (2018). Spit and inlet morphodynamics of a tropical coastal Lagoon. Marine Geodesy.

S.No Name Designation Specialization E-mail
1 Dr. U S Panda Scientist F & Group Head Numerical modelling of biogeochemical interactions & dispersion of pollutants in coastal ecosystems, sediment transport & waves dynamics studies uspanda[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
2 Dr. S. A. Naidu Project Scientist-II Benthic Ecology, Microplastics, Ecosystem Processes snaidu[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
3 Mr. V. Damodara Rao Project Scientist-II Chemical Oceanography vdrao[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
4 Dr. P. Ezhilarasan Project Scientist-II Zooplankton Ecology ezhil[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
5 Dr. Akhilesh Vijay Project Scientist-II Chemical Oceanography akhilesh[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
6 Dr. Kumaraswami M Project Scientist-II Remote Sensing kumara[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
7 Dr. Pearlin Sam Jinoj T Project Scientist-II Instrumentation samjinoj[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
8 Dr. R. S. Pandiyarajan Project Scientist-I Benthic Ecology rspraja[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in
9 Mr. D. Kumaresan Project Scientist-I Instrumentation dkumaran[at]nccr[dot]gov[dot]in

Chilika Lake







Pulicat Lake



SW Coast