Mapping octocoral (Anthozoa: Octocorallia) research in Asia, with particular reference to the Indian subcontinent: trends, challenges, and opportunities

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Ghosh Ramvilas
Kannan Shalu
Rajeev Raghavan
Kutty Ranjeet


Octocorallia (Cnidaria, Anthozoa) comprising over 3,600 nominal species within three orders, Alcyonacea, Helioporacea and Pennatulacea, is one of the most poorly known groups of marine invertebrates.  Half of known octocoral species occur in the Indo-Pacific, but not much is understood about research efforts and outputs in this region, particularly in the Asian context.  A review of the literature on Asian octocorals during a 40-year period from 1978 to 2018 revealed that most research was concentrated in particular regions/countries.  An analysis of research originating from India indicated several issues, including low quality data and local taxonomic impediment.  This paper examines the general trends and geographic disparity in Asian octocoral research over the past four decades, analyses the extent and source of such disparity by drawing parallels between India and the rest of Asia, and provides recommendations for improving octocoral studies in the region. 


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