Chilika due to its brackish salinity and shallow nature supports  dense beds of seagrasses that are often dominated by Halophila species. Seagrass beds are vital due to their role in providing the sheltering and feeding ground for many birds and fishes. The benthic community of seagrass beds  is extremely diverse and many annelids living in these sediments are food for a variety of zooplankton , small fishes. The nearby area  that does not have seagrass beds is mostly devoid of such benthic diversity. During benthic sediment sampling from Chilika, sediments were sieved through 500 um mesh and mounted on board using foldscope . Water samples were collected through plankton net. The slides were prepared onboard  for  amphipod and chironimid larvae. Group of fisherman actively fishing in the lagoon were sensitized about the role of seagrasses, and the benthic  community they support in sustaining the productivity of the lagoon.

Seagrass sampling 
Segregation of Benthic samples.



The Chironomidae (Video 1 and 2) (informally known as chironomids, nonbiting midges, or lake flies) comprise a families of nematoceran flies with a global distribution. Many species superficially resemble mosquitoes, but they lack the wing scales and elongated mouthparts of the Culicidae. Larvae and pupae are important food items for fish and for many other aquatic organisms as well. They also are preyed on by bats and flying predatory insects, such as Odonata and dance flies. The Chironomidae are important as indicator organisms, i.e., the presence, absence, or quantities of various species in a body of water can indicate whether pollutants are present. Also, their fossils are widely used by palaeolimnologists as indicators of past environmental changes, including past climatic variability.

Explaining the fishermen about the Foldscope and the Chironimid Larvae



Leave a Reply