Occurrence and distribution of soft corals (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea) from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
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Occurrence and new distributional records for 26 species of Alcyonaceans are given. These include 12 species of Sinularia, 6 of Lobophytum, 6 of Sarcophytum, one of Cladiella and one of Nephthea. Their ecological information on habitat and associations with the other organisms is also noted. A major factor elimiting the distribution of soft corals is the availability of hard substratum for settlement. Other factors that determine their faunistic composition and abundance are correlated with resistance to harsh environments and life history parameters. Competitive interaction with other benthic reef-organisms also plays a major role in the distribution of soft corals in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
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