Establishment of Sentinel Sites for Coastal Management

 / Research / In-House /CIA/ Establishment of Sentinel sites for Coastal Management

The Project

The detection, attribution and prediction of regional environmental change have become goals for numerous national and multinational organizations. Sentinel sites are used to understand regional environmental issues by focusing on resources and the efforts taken at local scale. Discrete locations in coastal and marine environments that have the operational capacity for intensive study to understand changes in the ecosystems are identified. Nested sets of sentinel sites are selected to understand ecosystem conditions at specific temporal and spatial scales for addressing science and management priorities. For determining and understanding the climate change impact on sensitive coastal ecosystem, a continuous monitoring for various chemical, physical, and biological parameters is carried out. Keeping this in mind, selected Indian coral ecosystems:
1. Shingle island, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park (GoMMNP), Tamil Nadu
2. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (MGMNP), Andaman & Nicobar, and
3. Kavaratti Island, Lakshadweep Islands of India has been identified for Coral Reef Observation Network (CReON).

Real time coral reef monitoring as sensors of climate change


Monitoring of Coral reef ecosystem through Data Buoy and AWS.


  • Provide appropriate intervention to help coastal management.

  • Collection of long term time series data using real time monitoring system.

    • Water quality
    • Meteorological measurements
    • Waves, tides, current, etc.
    • Generation of a long term database for coral reef monitoring
  • Observation of coral bleaching events caused due to natural (El-Niño type events) or anthropogenic (land-based inputs) activities.

  • Develop science-based management plan for the conservation and protection of coral reef ecosystems based on long-term observations

  • Development of online web portal for “CReON”.

  • Deployment of settlement tripod (for recruitment rate) and sediment traps (for sedimentation rate estimation).

  • Assessing coral reef ecosystem health in connection with changes in biological and physical indicators to develop i) Coral Health Index (CHI) and ii) health of associated flora and fauna that influence coral health, by developing Sea Life Index (SLI).

  • Assessment of microbial communities associated with corals (Beneficial microbial flora and pathogens) – to understand the association of microbial communities with coral health, bleaching and recovery.

Key Findings

Coral Reef in-situ Observation Network (CReON)

Coral Reef in situ Observation Network (CReON)”. The CReON Program undertakes advanced research on long term coral reef health monitoring, calcification rates and ocean acidification, based on deployment of Data Buoy and Automated Weather Stations at various Coral Reef sites along the Indian Coast including Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.

Real-time monitoring system

Variation of physico-chemical variables during Summer Kurusadai Island

Coral bleaching event 2016 reported from Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep

Monitoring of microbial structure during coral Bleaching

The major focus areas include investigation on functional characteristics of coral-microbe dynamics in response to Environmental stresses (temperature, pH, salinity), networking between microbial communities, metabolomics of beneficial and pathogenic microbes associated with corals and extraction of novel compounds from commensal bacteria that inhibit coral pathogens.

Assessment of microbial communities associated with corals (Beneficial microbial flora and pathogens)

Physicochemical variables

Overall environmental variables indicate the healthy marine environment persist in the Gulf of Mannar region, Kavaratti & Andaman Sentinel site locations. However, seasonal variation in sea surface temperature and water column turbidity having impact on coral ecology of the region.

Monitoring of microbial structure during coral Bleaching

Bleach resistant corals exhibited unique microbial communities that are previously reported to produce antimicrobial peptides against pathogens. Re-establishment of healthy microbiome could aid in prevention of massive bleaching events.