Current status and checklist of seagrass in Sri Lanka

Susantha Udagedara, Dahanayakage Don Gihan Lakmal Dahanayaka

Abstract

This work provides the revised and updated checklist of the seagrass, Sri Lanka based on primary and secondary information. It is indeed to be an update the list of Seagrass species in Sri Lanka prepared by Abeywickrama and Arulgnanam (1991), which now been nearly three decades back. Further, several species names have been changed and there is concern that the nomenclature and distribution data are no longer accurate.  Therefore, it is critical to identify the correct seagrasses species which are recorded in Sri Lanka in line with the updated global systematic records. More than forty (40) published pieces of literature, herbarium sheets in the National Herbarium and author’s personal observations since 2011 were reviewed. Sri Lanka belongs to the Indo-Pacific bioregion and 14 species have been recorded so far representing seven genera.  They are Enhalus acoroides, Halophila beccarii, H. decipiens, H. ovalis, H. minor, H. ovata, H. stipulacea, Thalassia hemprichii, Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Halodule uninervis, H. pinifolia, Ruppia maritima, and Syringodium isoetifolium with the estimated extend to be 37,137 ha. Lack of evidences to cross check the identification of H. minor (only recorded in Negombo Lagoon) and H. ovata are main drawback.  The composition and distribution of seagrasses along the coastal zone of Sri Lanka is yet to be established covering the entire coastline, which mainly due to a 30-year long civil conflict. Therefore, island wide comprehensive and systematic research studies could be positively contributed to fulfil the data gaps in future.

Keywords

Seagrass, Checklist, Sri Lanka, Distribution, Conservation.

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References

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