Rocky shore ecosystems are biologically diverse and can include many different habitat types like steep rocky cliffs, platforms, rock pools and boulder fields. Each of these habitats form a narrow band fringing the coast, such that the gradient between marine and terrestrial conditions becomes sharp, with abrupt changes in physical conditions. This provides a unique habitat for specialised intertidal fauna, which experiences large daily fluctuations in their environment making them tolerant against extreme changes in temperature, salinity, moisture, and wave action. Because of these conditions, depending on the way intertidal fauna and flora have adapted, rocky shore ecosystems show vertical zonation. All these features cumulatively make the rocky shore ecosystem very important since they are rich in unique biodiversity, provide a nursery area for many fish and crustacean species, provide food for fishes, provide shelter in areas where seaweeds reduce the wave power, and more importantly, protect the hinterland from coastal erosion.
Goa has several stretches of rocky coasts that are often unexplored for their biodiversity. Hence, to increase awareness and appreciation about this unique habitat and its denizens, the Goa Forest Department in association with Arannya Environment Research Organisation, conducted intertidal walk at Anjuna for public. The walk was attended by 35 participants from across Goa. Twenty-six species were observed and identified by field experts from Arannya Environment Research Organisation who also educated the participants about the various biological, behavioural, and ecological aspects of these species through interesting stories and snippets. The highlights of the walk were Anjuna Anemone (Anthopleura anjunae), Burgundy Sea Anemone (Bunodosoma goanense) Crescent Grunter (Terapon jarbua), Highfin Moray (Gymnothorax pseudothyrsoideus), Mermaid’s Fan Seaweed (Padina sp) amongst others. The participants were also apprised by field experts from from Arannya Environment Research Organisation and Shri. Paresh Porob, ACF from Goa Forest Department about the need for protecting these lesser-known organisms, their habitats, and the need for environment education.
Participants of Intertidal walk at Anjuna Rock Beach.
List of species documented dueing the tidewalk.