Research Scholar, Oceans and Coasts
M.Sc (Tropical marine biology and coral reef ecology)
I completed my MSc in Tropical marine biology from the James Cook University, Australia in 2009. Since then, I have been working with NCF in the Lakshadweep archipelago, studying the effects of repeated climate-change disturbances on the distribution of structure-dependent reef fish. I am interested in behavioural ecology (foraging and mating behaviours), ecomorphology and functional ecology of reef fish, particularly set within the context of rapid human-induced environmental change (HIREC).
Currently, I am pursuing a PhD with NCF and Manipal University, Karnataka. For my PhD I am studying the consequences of mass-bleaching driven rapid reef degradation, on groupers (Family: Epinephelidae), a functionally important, benthic piscivore guild. A part of my study looks at plasticity in foraging behaviour, which allows some grouper species to successfully survive in degraded habitats and tracks the physiological and demographic consequences of persisting in these degraded reefs. I am also study the mating system of a high-density, squaretail grouper spawning aggregation and the impact of fishing on this unique system .
- Journal Article2017Alternative reproductive tactics and inverse size-assortment in a high-density fish spawning aggregationBMC Ecology, 17:10, DOI 10.1186/s12898-017-0120-5Download
PDF, 1.44 MB
Mating successfully at high densities often requires species to employ unusual reproductive tactics. We report unique courtship behaviours in an un shed, high-density spawning aggregation of squaretail groupers (Plectropomus areolatus) that are potentially associated with alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs). Aggregating males are typically known to court females in small territories (pair courtship), which is often associated with a pair-spawning tactic. However, we also observed the largest males simultaneously courting several females in mid-water shoals – a unique, high-cost-high-benefit courtship tactic which appears to result in a novel school-spawning tactic. Counter-intuitively we observed an inverse size- assortment in individuals–large males courted smaller females and vice-a-versa, likely linked to different pay- offs with competitive ability and local mate density. These unique, high-density behaviours are threatened to be lost, with increasing commercial fishing pressures on the P. areolatus aggregation.
- Journal Article2016Homeward bound: fish larvae use dispersal corridors when settling on coral reefsNatural History Notes: Frontiers in Ecology and the EnvironmentDownload
PDF, 769 KB
- Dataset2016Long-lived groupers require structurally stable reefs in the face of repeated climate change disturbances.Karkarey R, Kelkar N, Lobo AS, Alcoverro T, Arthur R (2014) Data from: Long-lived groupers require structurally stable reefs in the face of repeated climate change disturbances. Dryad Digital Repository. http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.d7j02
- Book2015Common Marine Life of LakshadweepDownload
PDF, 10.2 MB
A pocket guide to Lakshadweep's common marine creatures.
- Popular Article2015On the lineThe Caravan Magazine, September 2015.
A remote island's fight to save a remarkable grouper spawning aggregation.
- Popular Article2015Survival tips to a young fish from an old fishThe Hindu in School, 10 June
- Popular Article2015Life of fryThe Hindu in School, 3 June
- Journal Article2014Long-lived benthic predators require structurally stable reefs in the face of repeated climate-change disturbancesCoral Reefs. 33: 289-302
Benthic recovery from climate-related disturbances does not always warrant a commensurate functional recovery for reef-associated fish communities. Here, we examine the distribution of benthic groupers (family Serranidae) in coral reef communities from the Lakshadweep archipelago (Arabian Sea) in response to structural complexity and long-term habitat stability. These coral reefs that have been subject to two major El Nin ̃o Southern Oscillation-related coral bleaching events in the last decades (1998 and 2010). First, we employ a long-term (12-yr) benthic- monitoring dataset to track habitat structural stability at twelve reef sites in the archipelago. Structural stability of reefs was strongly driven by exposure to monsoon storms and depth, which made deeper and more sheltered reefs on the eastern aspect more stable than the more exposed (western) and shallower reefs. We surveyed groupers (species richness, abundance, biomass) in 60 sites across the entire archipelago, representing both exposures and depths. Sites were selected along a gradient of structural complexity from very low to high. Grouper biomass appeared to vary with habitat stability with significant differences between depth and exposure; sheltered deep reefs had a higher grouper biomass than either sheltered shallow or exposed (deep and shallow) reefs. Species richness and abundance showed similar (though not significant) trends. More interestingly, average grouper biomass increased exponentially with structural complexity, but only at the sheltered deep (high stability) sites, despite the availability of recovered structure at exposed deep and shallow sites (lower-stability sites). This trend was especially pronounced for long-lived groupers (life span [10 yrs). These results suggest that long-lived groupers may prefer temporally stable reefs, independent of the local availability of habitat structure. In reefs subject to repeated disturbances, the presence of structurally stable reefs may be critical as refuges for functionally important, long-lived species like groupers.
- Poster2014Responsible Fishing
- Poster2014Larval connectivity in Lakshadweep