Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)
- The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute is an institution under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- It is one of the leading tropical marine fisheries research institutes in the world.
- The Institute maintains the National Marine Fisheries Data Centre (NMFDC) with data records from all maritime states of India of more than 1000 fished species.
- CMFRI undertakes research in new areas like marine finfish farming, biotechnology and biodiversity.
- It is headquartered at Kochi, Kerala.
- It is one of the most commonly occurring bioluminescent organisms in coastal regions of the world.
- Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism and occurs due to a chemical reaction, involving a light-emitting molecule and an enzyme, called luciferin and luciferase. It is also called Sea Sparkle.
- Like algae it has two components, one a phytoplankton which can photosynthesise, turning sunlight into energy. Other the host cell which grazes on other microorganisms such as larvae, fish eggs, and diatoms.
- The host cell survives even when food was scarce with the help of phytoplankton. Thus, N. Scintillans act as both a plant and an animal.
- It produces high amounts of Ammonia as a part of excretion.
Why in the news?
- The Karnataka coast has been witnessing the bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans for about a month.
- Scientists from the CMFRI have found that the bloom of N. Scintillans has displaced microscopic algae called diatoms, which form the basis of the marine food chain. This has deprived food for the planktivorous fish.
- The toxic blooms of N. Scintillans were also linked to massive fish and marine invertebrate kills. Though the species does not produce a toxin, it was found to accumulate toxic levels of ammonia, which is then excreted into the surrounding waters, possibly acting as the killing agent in blooms.
- The ammonia makes N. Scintillans unpalatable for most creatures.