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Halophila beccarii, listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, aids in seagrass and mangrove succession, acts as a substrate stabilizer and provides feeding grounds for mega-herbivores like dugongs. This species was first recorded from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in 2015, and its distribution status within the archipelago remains under-investigated. We report a new distribution record of H. beccarii from the North Andamans and shed light on its inter-island distribution. H. beccarii was recorded from a mixed meadow comprising of Cymodocea rotundata (20.5 ± 28.8%, mean seagrass cover), Thalassia hemprichii (16.3 ± 23.3%, mean seagrass cover), and Halodule pinifolia (6.3 ± 12.1%, mean seagrass cover) at Pokkadera, North and Middle Andaman district. H. beccarii had the highest mean seagrass cover (30 ± 34.7%) and shoot density (103.5 ± 68.3 shoots/ m2) among sympatric seagrass species. We also recorded eight seagrass-associated macrofaunal groups (gastropods, bivalves, polychaetes, foraminiferans, nematodes, brachyurans, decapods and asteroids) from the infaunal and epibenthic micro-habitats within the meadow. Infaunal macrobenthos had a much higher density (73.5 ± 129.7 individuals/m2) than the epibenthic macrofauna (0.4 ± 1.5 individuals/m2), possibly influenced by the seagrass canopy structure and biomass. Overall, gastropods were the most dominant macrobenthic faunal group (overall mean 95.0 ± 106.1 individuals/m2). The present findings emphasize the need for more exploratory surveys to understand H. beccarii distribution in the Andaman & Nicobar archipelago to identify priority conservation areas.
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