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Hypnea : New Red Algal Seaweed Species

New Red Algal Seaweed Species:

Two new red algal seaweed species have been discovered along India’s coastline.

  • India has a vast coastline of over 7,500 kms.
  • They grow in the intertidal regions of the coast, namely the area that is submerged during the high tide and exposed during low tides.
  • The genus Hypnea consists of calcareous, erect, branched red seaweeds.
  • There are 61 species of which 10 were reported in India. With two new species, the total number of species now would be 63.
  • Hypnea indica was discovered in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and Somnath Pathan and Sivrajpur in Gujarat.
  • Hypnea bullata was discovered from Kanyakumari and Diu island of Daman and Diu.
  • Hypnea variants of seaweeds can fetch good monetary value if commercial-scale cultivation is taken up. Hypnea contains Carrageenan, a biomolecule commonly used in the food industry.

Seaweeds:

  • They are the primitive, marine non-flowering marine algae without root, stem and leaves, play a major role in marine ecosystems.
  • Large seaweeds form dense underwater forests known as kelp forests, which act as underwater nurseries for fish, snails and sea urchins.
  • Some species of seaweeds viz. Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis, Gracilaria crassa, Gracilaria verrucosa, Sargassum spp. and Turbinaria spp.
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