FOREWORD
 
      Oceans that constitute 2/3 of our planet. With the exponentially growing population, increasing pollution and dwindling land-based resources, ocean is increasingly being looked at as a major resource that sustais life on planet. Many studies are being conducted to understand the resource potential and complex ecological processes of our marine environment. This has resulted in the accumulation of large amounts of  data/ information. The success of accurate interpretation and  forecasting depends on the efficient management and real-time dissemination of this data/information. 

     The seas bordering India harbour rich, diversified biota. However, information on these economically,  
ecologically importan habitats is scattered and limited which calls for its plannedmanagement and  quicker dissemination. The National Institute of Oceanography, Goa during its three decades of  existence has been attempting to achieve this goal. The Bioinformatics Centre at the Institute has  been working on collation of biotic knowledge of our seas. The present CDROM on "Marine Prawns of India" is the first of such user-friendly, multimedia packages under the series "NIO's Database on Marine Life of India (NIIODMLI)". This CDROM collates taxonomy, biogeography, life cycle and morphology related infor mation on 52 prawn species available in marine and estuarine waters of this country. This multimedia package has been developed in HTML format using the available web browser, thus making it more user-friendly. It would also be made available on Internet Server (http://www.nio.org) as a value-a dded service. 

     Apart from fulfiling its major aim of collation of marine biological knowledge, the Bioinformatics Centre has played a major role in planning and establishing a Local Area Network (LAN) and the Indian  National Oceanographic Internet Server (INOIS) at this institute. This centre has been active in developing new tools for Computer Aided Taxonomy (CAT) for Marine Biota. Vargiki-Animalia Ver. 1.0 is one such effort, whi 
ch can be accessed over our Internet Server (http://www.nio.org/animalia) 

      I take this opportunity to congratulate my colleagues Dr. D. Chandramohan, Shri Vishwas Chavan, Devanand Kavlekar, Vishwanath Kulkarni and Dr. C.T. Achuthankutty. I must also express our sincere thanks to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), New Delhi for funding the Bioinformatics activities at NIO, Goa. I wish all the very best to all those involved in bringing out such a unique and user-friendly package. 
 

  
[E. Desa]